“From Words to #Genocide”, theme of International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the #Holocaust

From Words to Genocide: Antisemitic Propaganda and the Holocaust is the theme of this year’s International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, observed on 27 January. On that day, roundtable debates, exhibitions, and an official ceremony will examine the roots and consequences of hate speech and the need to promote human rights-based education.


UNESCO is organizing two roundtable debates on the Day: A history of Hate Speech and Genocide (2.30 p.m., Room IV) and In the Shadow of the Past: Countering Antisemitism and Hate Speech Today (4.30 p.m., Room IV). The debates will bring together academics, representatives of the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), as well as representatives of nongovernmental organizations and civil society.


The official ceremony, at 7.30 p.m. in Room I, will feature the participation of Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, Eric de Rothschild, President of France’s Mémorial de la Shoah, Carmel Shama Hacohen, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Israel to UNESCO, and Roman Kent, President of the Auschwitz International Committee, survivor of the ghetto of Lodz and of the concentration camps of Auschwitz, Mertzbachtal, Dornau, and Flossenburg. The French Army Choir, directed by Captain Emilie Fleury, will close the ceremony.


Two exhibitions will be on display at UNESCO during the commemoration: State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda, produced by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (Miró Room, 25 January to 11 Febrarury) and A is for Adolf: Teaching German Children Nazi Values, presented by the Wiener Library (UK), on the outer wall surrounding UNESCO’s Headquarters from 25 January to 28 February.


On the occasion of this year’s commemoration, UNESCO and the European Commission, in cooperation with the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research, will launch a comparative study that takes stock of Holocaust history teaching in the European Union, The Holocaust and Genocide in Contemporary Education: Curricula, Textbooks and Pupils’ Perceptions in Comparison. The findings of the study should help educators develop better methodologies and draw on existing best practices in their teaching about the Holocaust.


The International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust was established by the United Nations’ General Assembly in 2005 (Resolution 60/7) to “urge Member States to develop educational programmes to instill the memory of the tragedy in future generations to prevent genocide from occurring again.”

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