27 January 2015
Due to inclement weather in New York, the events that were to have taken place at the UN, today January 27, and yesterday, January 26, have been postponed to Wednesday, January 28, 2015 and will take place from 12 p.m.- 2 p.m. EST.
The United Nations event marking the tenth anniversary of the UN-sanctioned International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, as well as the 70th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, at the UN General Assembly, centered on the theme â€œLiberty, Life and the Legacy of the Holocaust Survivors,â€ will include a keynote address from Avner Shalev, Chairman of Yad Vashem, (due to the change in schedule, Mr. Shalev was unable to remain in New York and his keynote will be screened) remarks from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; Israel's President Reuven Rivlin; Holocaust survivor Yona Laks; Red Army Liberator Boris Feldman, Denis G. Antoine, Vice-President of the sixty-ninth session of the UNGA will deliver remarks on behalf of Mr. Sam Kahamba Kutesa, President of the 69th Session of the General Assembly, and Grammy award winner violinist Miri Ben-Ari will perform. Charlotte Cohen, Holocaust Educational Trust Regional Ambassador and Youth Adviser to the United Kingdom Holocaust Commission, appointed by Prime Minister David Cameron, will also take part.
In his speech, Shalev remarks that modern society deludes itself into thinking that technological advances progress alongside moral advances. "To our great sorrow, this is not true," he notes, adding that "nowadays, destructive evil, including vicious antisemitism, re-appears in different contexts and ideologies. These ideologies deny human rights and dignity in other dangerous ways and circumstances. As an educator, I ask, from the platform of the UN, how, confronted by this reality, we can ensure that moral values will still be as essential to our lives as technology advances? Our world today is plagued with cruel conflicts for dominance and resources. In the shadow of these conflicts, we can and must educate the next generation of citizens and leaders to choose to behave ethically and humanely."
The speech will be available for viewing on the Yad Vashem website from 1:00 p.m. EST.
In addition, a new Yad Vashem Traveling Exhibition, "Shoah â€“ How Was It Humanly Possible?", will open in the UN Visitors Lobby immediately after the event at the General Assembly. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, will deliver remarks at the opening ceremony. Maher Nasser, Acting Head of the Department of Public Information will act as master of ceremonies. Statements will also be made by Ron Prosor, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations, and Leonard Wilf, Chairman of the American Society for Yad Vashem. Created with the generous support of Cindy and Gerald Barad, the exhibition uses texts, images and video clips to recount a comprehensive history of the Holocaust from 1933-1945. Topics include Jewish life in Europe between the two world wars, Nazi ideology, Jewish and non-Jewish responses (victims, bystanders and perpetrators), the Final Solution, and liberation and the return to life of the survivors. The event is being held in cooperation with the American Society for Yad Vashem and the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations. The exhibition will remain on display at the United Nations through February 2015.
In Jerusalem on January 27, a new display entitled "The Anguish of Liberation as Reflected in Art, 1945-1947" will open in the Yad Vashem Museum of Holocaust Art, as part of a special evening marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day at Yad Vashem. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will attend the opening.
Around the world, Yad Vashem researchers, historians and educators are participating in various events and ceremonies marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council, Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, and Yad Vashem Chief Historian, Professor Dina Porat, will attend events in Prague and Terezin. Other Yad Vashem historians and educators will travel to countries throughout Africa and Europe.
A special online event, the IRemember Wall on Yad Vashem's Facebook page, provides people across the globe with a unique opportunity to engage in online commemorative activity. Each participant will be "linked" to a name of one of the over 4.3 million men, women and children currently found in the Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names, thus creating an opportunity for personal commemoration.