This year marks the 10th anniversary of the UN resolution which set January 27 as an international day of commemoration to honor the victims of the Holocaust, adopted on November 1, 2005, and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz.
The 2015 observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust is centered on the theme "Liberty, Life and the Legacy of the Holocaust Survivors". This theme marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp, the end of World War II and the founding of the United Nations.
The Holocaust was a turning point in history, which prompted the world to say "never again". The significance of resolution A/RES/60/7 is that it calls for a remembrance of past crimes with an eye towards preventing them in the future.
On January 27, 1945, Soviet forces liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp, discovering the largest Nazi killing center in Europe. Auschwitz has become a symbol of the Holocaust, representing the depths of man’s inhumanity to man.
In November 2005, the United Nations passed a resolution to mark January 27 as an international day of commemoration to honor the victims of the Holocaust, and urged member states to develop educational programs to impart the memory of this tragedy to future generations. More than 80 states have officially noted the date January 27 as an annual Holocaust Memorial Day, and Holocaust remembrance ceremonies will be organized on the international, national, regional and local levels, including in universities and schools.
Over 90 Israeli missions abroad are taking part in organizing ceremonies and events to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day throughout the world, from Austria to Mexico, from Myanmar to Rwanda.
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- On January 22, the United Nations General Assembly will convene a special session to address the global outbreak of antisemitism at the request of 37 member states including Israel, the United States, Canada, Australia, and all members of the EU.
- On January 27, the UN General Assembly will hold a Holocaust Memorial Ceremony. The ceremony will include remarks from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; H.E. Mr. Reuven Rivlin, President of the State of Israel; H.E. Mr. Sam Kahamba Kutesa, President of the 69th Session of the General Assembly (invited); H. E. Ms. Samantha Power, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations; Holocaust survivor Mrs. Yona Laks; and Red Army Liberator. Mr. Avner Shalev, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate, will deliver the keynote address.
- Events at the United Nations headquarters in New York will also feature the opening of two exhibitions:
"Shoah – How Was It Humanly Possible?"– Yad Vashem’s first traveling exhibition recounting the comprehensive story of the Shoah – deals with major historical aspects of the Holocaust, beginning with Jewish life in pre-Holocaust Europe and ending with the 1945 liberation of Nazi concentration and death camps across the continent. The exhibition will open at United Nations Headquarters on 26 January, marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz Birkenau and the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. Partners include Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority; the American Society for Yad Vashem; and the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations.
"Forbidden Art", sponsored by the Auschwitz Birkenau State Memorial Museum and the Permanent Mission of Poland to the United Nations, presents the story of 20 works of arts made illegally and at great risk by prisoners of the Nazi concentration camps. The artwork depicts two themes. The first theme shows the reality of the camp: various scenes from the functioning of the camp as well as portraits of prisoners. The second part offers a look at various kinds of escape from camp reality: caricatures, albums containing greetings, and fairy tales that prisoners wrote for their children.
- On Thursday 22 January 2015, the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna will host an address by Sir Andrew Burns, Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, and Ambassador Roksanda Ninčić, State Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia and Head of the Serbian Delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.
Following the meeting of the Permanent Council, at a special ceremony in the presence of diplomats representing 57 OSCE Participating States and 11 Partner States for Cooperation, Israel Ambassador Zvi Heifetz will present a plaque to the OSCE Spanish Permanent Representative honoring the bravery of the Spanish diplomat, Sebastian de Romero Radigales, who saved the lives of hundreds of Jews fleeing the Nazis in Salonika during the Holocaust. The ceremony will be followed the viewing of a Yad Vashem exhibition entitled “A Monument of Good Deeds – Dreams and Hopes of Children during the Holocaust” dedicated to the children who perished in the Holocaust.
- An official ceremony will take place at UNESCO (Paris) in the presence of Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO; Eric de Rothschild, President of the Shoah Memorial; and the Permanent delegate of Israel to UNESCO, H.E. Mr Carmel Shama Hacohen.
On January 26, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra will perform Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13 "Babi Yar".
- In Berlin, the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp will be commemorated by the Berlin Philharmoniker, which will perform a concert in remembrance of the victims of the Shoah – "Violins of Hope". Two Israeli violinists, Guy Braunstein and Zvi Plesser, will be the soloists. Members of the orchestra will play on restored violins and celli whcih once belonged to victims and survivors of the Shoah. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is the patron of the concert, will deliver a speech.