Oscar-winning film director Steven Spielberg delivered the keynote address at the United Nations Holocaust Memorial Ceremony in New York

[notice noticeType=”info” ]Film director, writer,and producer Steven Spielberg is pictured with Holocaust survivor Rena Finder on the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust on January 27 at the United Nations.UN Photo/Evan Schneider [/notice]

At UN Headquarters in New York City, Oscar-winning film director, writer, and producer Steven Spielberg delivered the keynote address on the International Day of commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.

The event was held under the theme, “Journeys through the Holocaust” in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations.

Following the release of his film, “Schindler’s List” in 1993, Mr. Spielberg solidified his commitment to keeping alive the memory and lessons of the Holocaust by founding the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education. Established to collect and preserve testimonies of survivors and other witnesses to the Holocaust, the Institute maintains one of the world’s largest video digital libraries-nearly 52,000 video testimonies in 32 languages from 56 countries.

Ron Prosor, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations in New York delivered a strong message at the recent UN Holocaust Memorial Ceremony in the UN General Assembly. UN Photo/Evan Schneider.
Ron Prosor, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations in New York delivered a strong message at the recent UN Holocaust Memorial Ceremony in the UN General Assembly. UN Photo/Evan Schneider.

Go to www.sfi.usc.edu for more information. Ambassador Ron Proser, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations in New York spoke at this event, as well.

Mr. Spielberg said, “I am humbled by the opportunity to speak at the United Nations on this significant day of Remembrance.” The International Day marks the anniversary of the1945 liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said upon visiting the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and State Museum this past November, “we will continue to shine a light on these unspeakable crimes so that they may never be repeated.”

Rena Finder, a Holocaust survivor, whose name appeared on the real-life Schindler’s List, shared her testimony. “Encouraging young people to be more accepting of others and learn from the cruelty that was inflicted on Jews and other minorities during the Holocaust has been my life’s work,” said Mrs. Finder. Students who study the Holocaust at the Bronx High School for Science also took part: Sofie Somoroff, Afsara Ali,
Kevin Xia and Bhaavya Sinha.

In addition, a statement was made by Ambassador Samantha Power, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations in New York. A video message from UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon was shown, and John Ashe, President of the UN General Assembly, also spoke at this event.

Samantha Power, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations in New York. UN Photo/ Evan Schneider.
Samantha Power, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations in New York. UN Photo/ Evan Schneider.

Cantor Shmuel Barzilal recited the memorial prayers with keyboard accompanist Jonathan Rimberg, following musical interludes performed by the 92nd Street Y Woodwind Quartet, whose members included Keith Bonner, flute, Keve Wilson, oboe, Igor Begelman, clarinet, bassoonist Larisa Gelman, and Debbie Schmidt on English and French horn. For more information, go to www.92y.org. 

“Remembrance Week: Journeys through the Holocaust” was held from 23 to 29 January at UN Headquarters in New York. Two exhibitions were held in New York, too, one exhibition marked the seventieth anniversary of the deportation of the Jews in Hungary on January 23, and, another on the March of the Living International on January 28.

Following the memorial ceremony on January 27, the Permanent Mission of Albania to the United Nations and the B’nai B’rith International held a panel discussion on the rescue of jews in Albania. In addition, the film “Blinky & Me”, directed and produced by Tomas Magierski, on the life of animator and Holocaust survivor Yoram Gross, was screened on January 28.

For a full calendars of events,go to:www.un.org/holocaustremembrance. The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, called for by General Assembly resolution 60/7, was established in 2006 to encourage education about, and remembrance of, the Holocaust.

 

 

 

Ann Charles
Ann Charles is UN Bureau Chief of “Baltic Review” based in New York City. She covers diplomatic activities at United Nations Headquarters in New York and the world body’s work in human rights, education, culture, the environment, and tourism, among other global concerns.