©Nuremberg City Archives (or NCA) E39 Nr. 2381/5

From Words to Genocide : Antisemitic Propaganda and the Holocaust

The twenty-seventh of January marks the liberation of the concentration and extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. On this date every year, the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, UNESCO commemorates the genocide perpetrated against the Jewish people and other Nazi crimes, and reaffirms its commitment to promote education about the history of the Holocaust and to fight against racism and antisemitism.This year’s International Day is placed under the theme “From Words to Genocide: Antisemitic Propaganda and the Holocaust”.

The prevention of genocide starts on the benches of schools…Education can help prevent hate speech and undermine prejudice, by weakening the grounds for ignorance, by promoting learning to live together, by cultivating respect for all people …In a world where the ‘local’ is but one click away from the ‘global, we need a renewed commitment to dialogue, tolerance, reconciliation and understanding – online and offline.   

Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General
(Education as a Strategy to Prevent Genocide, Ministerial Side Event, United Nations General Assembly, 27 September 2015).

The Nazi regime used the power of mass communication to fuel racism and to demonize groups deemed “racially” inferior to advance their radical goal to dominate Europe and destroy the Jewish people. In our interconnected world, the deadly potential of propaganda lives on against a background of sectarian tensions, terrorism, and persecution of ethnic, religious and political minorities. Through public events and historical exhibitions, the International Day highlights the paths that may lead from hate speech to violent policies and raises awareness about why it is vital to stand up against the negative power of propaganda and promote education based on human rights values which can help young people develop critical thinking skills.

Related information


    UNESCO Headquarters

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    Round-Table ( 14:30 - 17:30)


    Live Webcast

    Hosted by Emmanuel Laurentin,
    producer and host of The Fabric of History program on France Culture

    Opening remarks from Ms Sara Bloomfield, Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (United States of America)

    A history of hate speech and genocide” from 2.45 pm to 4 pm

    • Mr Johann Chapoutot, National Centre for Scientific Research, Institute of Contemporary History (CNRS-IHTP), German history specialist, University Professor at The University of Paris III Sorbonne nouvelle (France)
    • Mr Marcel Kabanda, President of the IBUKA Association (France)
    • Mr Steven Luckert, Curator of the Permanent Exhibition at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (United States of America)

    Followed by a video message by Mr Heiner Bielefeldt, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Freedom of Religion or Belief at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations

    In the Shadow of the Past: Countering Antisemitism and Hate Speech Today” from 4.30 pm to 5.30 pm

    • Mr Andrew Baker, Personal representative of the Chairperson-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on combatting antisemitism, Director of International Jewish Affairs at the American Jewish Committee (United States of America) 
    • Mr Menachem Z. Rosensaft, General Counsel of the World Jewish Congress, adjunct professor of Law at Cornell Law School, and Lecturer-in-law at Columbia Law School (United States of America)
    • Mr Robert Jan Van Pelt, Professor of the History of Architecture, University of Waterloo (Canada)

    Live interpretation in French and English will be provided

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    Ceremony (19:30 -21:00)

      • Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO
      • Mr Eric de Rothschild, President of the Shoah Memorial
      • Mr Manuel Valls, Prime Minister of France (to be confirmed)
      • His Excellency Mr Carmel Shama Hacohen, Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of Israel to UNESCO
    • Guest of honor :
      • Mr Roman Kent, President of the Auschwitz International Committee, President of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, President of The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, Survivor of the Lodz ghetto and Auschwitz, Mertzbachtal, Dornau, and Flossenburg concentration camps


    • Concert by the Chœur de l’Armée française (French Army Choir), led by Captain Emilie Fleury




    USHMM exhibition - 25/01/2015 - 11/02/2016;

    State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda 

    Wiener Library exhibition - 25/01/2016 – 28/02/2016
    A is for Adolf: Teaching German Children Nazi Values