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2016 holocaust remembrance events at the un in ny

This year’s theme was “The Holocaust and Human Dignity”, linking remembrance with the founding principles of the UN and reaffirming faith in the dignity and worth of every person and the right to live free from discrimination with equal protection under the law.

UN Holocaust Memorial Ceremony in Memory of the Victims

General Assembly Hall-Wednesday, January 27th - reported by Fran Butensky, Rita Fishman and Judy Mintz

The huge General Assembly Hall was filled, almost to capacity. The program began with a standing ovation for the survivors and their families and the WWII veterans and liberators and followed by a moment of silence.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
Reminded us that 1-27 is a day of freedom and the importance of remembering the stories of the survivors to prevent the recurrence of this colossal crime against 6 million Jewish martyrs and hundreds of thousands of other targeted minorities-the disabled, homosexuals, the Roma and the Sintos. He condemned how Iran is toying with historic facts, anti-Semitism, crimes against humanity, and the humanitarian suffering in Syria

H.E. Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the 70th Session of the General Assembly
We are all responsible to insure “never again” through education and awareness.
We are here to unite and learn from the past but, sadly, genocides and hate crimes still occur. We must listen carefully and learn from survivors.

H.E. Mr. Danny Danon, Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN
Expressed his appreciation for this day of commemoration, the importance of memory and the lessons we should remember.

H.E. Ms. Samantha Power, Permanent Representative of the US to the UN
Honored survivors and liberators
Gave examples of the quiet courage and bravery of individual survivors
Survivors enable us to separate our own views by meeting the individuals themselves and hearing their stories.
She asked: What would we have done in their place?
We must see victims as individuals. Are we opening our doors and homes to those who need us?
Every victim has a name. We must learn from them and we must do more.

H.E. Mr. Felix Klein, Special Representative for Relations with Jewish Organizations, Germany
Spoke passionately about the incomprehensible suffering and gruesome barbarity at Auschwitz that is beyond our comprehension and imagination but it did happen.
The Roma, homosexuals, prisoners of war and other minorities were also targets.
We must be mindful and remember that message of “Never Again”.
They questioned in the camps why no one was intervening and why they were being abandoned.
In Germany today, there is a commitment to a united Europe with freedom, pluralism and tolerance.
Germany is taking frank ownership of their difficult past and that has been good for Germany.
Too few looked to the future and too few looked back. They did not want to assume guilt.
Germany has become an active partner in the Holocaust Remembrance Committee.
Auschwitz concerns all of us; it’s not simply where it took place.

Ms. Barbara Winton: daughter of Sir Nicholas Winton, a Video Tribute
In 1939 at the age of 29 Nicholas Winton, along with a few other heroes during a 7-month period, organized 8 transports of 669 endangered Jewish children from Czechoslovakia bringing them to safety in Great Britain. In 1988 a scrapbook was discovered in his attic with a list of their names, their parents’ names and their foster families allowing for the story to be told. He simply said that he did what was right. During their lifetime, these children are credited with many contributions. It must be noted that those children went on to have 6000 descendants, many of who have also have been credited with major contributions to society worldwide.


Mrs. Marta Wise: One of a few Slovakian Jewish survivors
Posing as Arian children, Marta and her sister Eva survived in hiding until exposed and sent to Auschwitz
Josef Mengele used Marta and her sister in his horrific experiments. Out of character, Mengele allowed Marta to visit her sister Eva when she was dying
Marta in thinking about the Holocaust says “The world asks where God was? I ask-where was man?”

Mr. Zoni Weisz: Roma Sinto survivor from the Netherlands
We must bring attention to the little known fact that ½ million Roma where lost in the Holocaust
An important step to raising awareness of the plight of the Roma was when Mr. Weisz was invited in 2011 to speak at the German Bundestag at the official Holocaust Remembrance Day

Mr. Haim Roet: Jewish Survivor
Mr. Roet and his family were held in a theater in Amsterdam with 1000 Jews
Due to his mother’s courage and her refusal to open the door when demanded, the family survived
Dutch resistance was extraordinary and with a Dutch first name, Haim was able to pass as a nephew of the town baker.
At the end of the war, he was reunited with his family after reading a Red Cross notice on a tree.
Genocide is still going on. It must stop. It is essential that we continue to tell our stories of the Holocaust so that the world will never forget.
He now works with marginalized communities in Israel

There were Special Performances by Mr. Antal Kopar, Mr. Bela Horvath, Cantor Gideon Zelermyer, and the West Point Jewish Choir.

Additional Holocaust Remembrance Event and Exhibits

Film Screening and Discussion of “Woman in Gold”
This film sheds light on the loss of personal property and humiliation that Jewish families endured in Nazi-occupied Europe and on the difficulty of attaining justice and retrieving personal property after WWII.

“Life After Survival”
Exhibit of photographs showing the care child Holocaust survivors received.

“Holocaust by Bullets”
Exhibit of photographs depicting the collected evidence of the brutal massacres of Jewish victims in an attempt to give them back their dignity and memory. It also underscores that these mass murders were a precursor for crimes today.