[Dateline: New York | Author: iSeek]
The 2009 theme for the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust (Tuesday, 27 January) -- "An authentic basis for hope: Holocaust remembrance and education” -- honours the memory of the victims and recognizes the positive trend toward Holocaust education around the world and the importance of these lessons today.
In a message issued for the occasion, the Secretary-General said, “Our world continues to be plagued by ruthless violence, utter disregard for human rights, and the targeting of people solely for who they are. On this fourth International Day of Commemoration, let us remember the victims of the Holocaust by reaffirming our faith in the dignity and equal rights of all members of the human family. And let us pledge to work together to turn today’s hope into tomorrow’s better future” (full message).
The Secretary-General is delivering remarks before the congregation of the Park East Synagogue in New York on Saturday, 24 January at the invitation of Rabbi Arthur Schneier who has organized the solemn event.
Over the next week, a variety of events are planned in observance of the day, including exhibits, a memorial ceremony, a panel discussion, a documentary screening, a reading, a book signing and a briefing. Additional details, including dates, times and locations, are available online.
Around the world, the network of United Nations information centres (UNICs) have been invited to join the Footprints for Hope Project, the outreach programme’s newest initiative, developed in partnership with Paul Salmons, Head of Curriculum Development, Holocaust Education Development Programme, Institute of Education, University of London, and Cornelia Reetz, United Kingdom Holocaust Centre, Nottinghamshire.
The educational materials for the Footprints programme include a lesson plan, a power point presentation and a film that centre around one of the most painful graphic images from the Holocaust, the shoes of the victims who perished in Nazi death camps. Following this lesson, the students, age 13 and older, will draw inspiration for a more hopeful future by creating colourful art out of used footwear. The aim of this activity is to further the students’ understanding of the Holocaust and encourage respect for human rights and the dignity and worth of every person.
Additional educational materials and discussion papers are available online.
About the day
In a 2005 resolution, the General Assembly designated 27 January, the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, as an annual international day of commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, and also requested the establishment of an outreach programme on the Holocaust and the United Nations (A/RES/60/7).