» The lesson of the Holocaust: a universal message
24.01.2012 - UNESCOPRESS

The lesson of the Holocaust: a universal message

A conference about the international dimensions of Holocaust education will bring together historians and researchers from all over the world on 31 January at UNESCO Headquarters (Room IV, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

The conference, organized as part of UNESCO events held on the occasion of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust (27 January), will be an opportunity to examine the importance of safeguarding the memory of this genocide, even in places far away from the scenes of the crime. It will also be an occasion to consider to what extent teaching about the Holocaust can help fight racism and anti-Semitism and prevent mass violence.

Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO, will open the conference, followed by the historian, Yehuda Bauer, of the Hebrew University (Jerusalem), who will give a keynote address on “The Universal Message Behind Holocaust Education.”

Three debates will follow: “Current Challenges in Holocaust Education” (11 a.m. to 12.45 p.m.), “Teaching About Genocide as a Means of Prevention and Reconstruction” (2.15 p.m. to 4 p.m.), “New Horizons for Holocaust Education” (4.15 p.m. to 5.30 p.m.). <a name="_GoBack">Scheduled speakers include: </a>Daniel Rafecas, Federal Judge, Advisor to the Shoah Memorial Foundation, Buenos Aires (Argentina); Professor François Masabo of the National University of Rwanda; Samuel Pisar, the writer and Lawyer newly appointed UNESCO Special Envoy for Holocaust Education, and Hannah Rosenthal, US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, US Department of State.

Events will continue during the evening with a ceremony organized in partnership with the French Shoah Memorial Foundation on the theme of “Children in the Holocaust (Room I, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.). Nearly nine out of ten Jewish children in Europe were assassinated in the Holocaust, i.e. close 1.5 million children. Speakers scheduled for this event include Henri Borlant, a physician who survived the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, as well as Yehuda Bauer and Irina Bokova. A short film, “Hidden Children” by Robert Bober featuring the reading by French actress Anouk Grinberg of letters written by children in hiding, will also be screened.

An exhibition about “The Righteous in France,” organized by the French Shoah Memorial Foundation, will also be presented on this occasion (Miró Room, 31 January to 03 February). With photographs and archival documents, the exhibition tells of the deeds of 150 of France’s Righteous (i.e. non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews). The show documents actions such as rescue operations inside internment camps in France, clandestine border crossings, the making of false civil and religious identification papers and the hiding of Jews in rural shelters.


*Programme of the conference: http://www.unesco.org/new/fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/HQ/ED/pdf/Programme-holocaust-enfr.pdf

More about UNESCO's Holocaust Rememberance programme: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/leading-the-international-agenda/human-rights-education/holocaust-remembrance/

Journalists wishing to cover these events are required to obtain accredtitation from

Isabelle Le Fournis, UNESCO Press Service: i.le-fournis(at)unesco.org, +33 (0) 1 45681748

Djibril Kébé, UNESCO Press Service, d.kebe(at)unesco.org, +33 (0) 1 45681741


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