Note No. 5989
23 January 2006

Note to Correspondents

United Nations to Observe First Universal Commemoration in Memory of Holocaust Victims 27 January

Observance Will Launch 'Remembrance and Beyond' Annual Lecture Series; Events for Preceding Week Include Film Screening, Exhibit, Candlelight Vigil

NEW YORK, 20 January (UN Headquarters) -- The United Nations Department of Public Information will hold the first universal observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust under the theme "Remembrance and Beyond" at United Nations Headquarters on 27 January from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon.  The day designated by the General Assembly, 27 January, is the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.

Shashi Tharoor, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, will introduce a programme that will begin with a message from Secretary-General Kofi Annan.  A statement by the President of the sixtieth session of the General Assembly will be read by the acting President, Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg, Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations.  Statements will also be made by Dan Gillerman, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations, and Holocaust survivor Gerda Klein, who will be introduced by Roman Kent, Chairman of the American Gathering of Jewish Survivors of the Holocaust.

The programme will include the first lecture in a proposed annual series on the theme "Remembrance and Beyond" by Professor Yehuda Bauer, Advisor to the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research, and a performance of songs by the Zamir Chorale of Boston from their renowned album Hear Our Voices: Songs from the Ghettos and Camps.  The chorale will be led by its artistic director Joshua Jacobson. This first observance will mark a major step in a broader programme of outreach on the Holocaust and the United Nations by the Department of Public Information, and is designed to encourage remembrance of and education about the Holocaust, in order to help to prevent future acts of genocide.

United Nations staff members, delegations of Member States, non-governmental organizations, media representatives, educational institutions and hundreds of survivors of the Holocaust will attend the 27 January commemorative event.  The ceremony will be webcast live at: .

The Department of Public Information's programme for the first universal commemoration of the Day involves Holocaust-related activities throughout the week of 23 January, beginning with the United Nations Chronicle e-alert on Holocaust and genocide-related articles.  The e-alert can be accessed by visiting .  A special Holocaust remembrance poster, created by the Department's graphic designers, will also be released.

On 24 January, Under-Secretary-General Tharoor will open for public viewing at United Nations Headquarters, a travelling exhibit entitled "Remembrance and Beyond: No Child's Play" from Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum.  Yehudit Inbar, Curator of Exhibits at Yad Vashem, and Melvin Bukiet, Professor at Sarah Lawrence College, will make statements.  Mischa Baker, a high school student from the United Nations International School, will read the poem Dream, written in the Lodz ghetto by Avremek Koplowitz, a 13-year old who later perished at Auschwitz.  

On the evening of 24 January, the Department and the United Nations Staff Recreation Council's Film Society will jointly host the screening of the movie Fateless from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium.  Catherine Claxton, President of the United Nations Film Society, and Raymond Sommereyns, Director of the Outreach Division, will introduce the film.  The movie is based on the novel with the same name by Nobel Literature Laureate Imre Kertesz which follows a 14-year Jewish boy from Budapest to the Buchenwald concentration camp. A limited number of tickets are available for United Nations pass holders from Karin Freudenthal at 212-963 0044, and must be picked up between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. in Room S-3250.

On 26 January, the Department of Public Information's Non-Governmental Organizations Section will host the weekly NGO briefing at 10 a.m. in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium.  Featured speakers include Dan Gillerman, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations, and Judea Pearl, President of the Daniel Pearl Foundation.  The theme will focus on promoting tolerance, cross-cultural understanding and communication. 

The same evening, a candlelight vigil will be held in the United Nations Visitors' Lobby where Holocaust survivors and United Nations staff members, among others, will gather for a solemn ceremony.  Six Holocaust survivors, representing the six million perished, will read excerpts from the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Cantor Joseph Malovany of the Fifth Avenue Synagogue will recite a memorial prayer.  An excerpt from Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl will be read by Jennifer Williams, a student of the United Nations International School. 

For more information, please contact: Vikram Sura, Associate Information Officer, Special Projects Unit, Outreach Division, United Nations Department of Public Information, E-mail:  and , Fax: 1-212-963-0536

For media accreditation, please visit: . Gary Fowlie, Chief, Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit, United Nations Department of Public Information, Tel: 1-212-963-6937, Fax: 1-212-963-4642.

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