The 70th anniversary of the liberation of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau will provide the backdrop for the commemorations of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust (27 January). Liberated on 27 January 1945, this site is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
To mark the date, UNESCO, in partnership with the Shoah Memorial and France Culture, is organizing on 27 January (2.30pm, Room II) a roundtable on the theme of “Culture, Remembrance and Transmission”, which will examine the challenges of passing on the history and memory of the genocide, more than three generations after it took place. Raphaël Esrail, President of the Union of Auschwitz Deportees (France), and Michael Newman, Executive Director of the Association of Jewish Refugees (United Kingdom), will be among the participants, as well as writers Jean-Claude Grumberg (France), Daniel Mendelsohn (United States) and Uri Orlev (Israel). Sandrine Treiner, Deputy-Director of France Culture, will moderate the roundtable.
The official ceremony for the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the camp will be transmitted live to UNESCO (Room 4) from the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum from 3.30pm to 4.15pm.
A ceremony dedicated to the memory of the Holocaust victims will start at 7.30pm (Room I) in the presence of UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova; President of the Shoah Memorial, Eric de Rothschild; French Interior Minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland, Henryka Mościcka-Dendys; and Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of Israel to UNESCO, Carmel Shama Hacohen.
Warsaw ghetto and Bergen-Belsen camp survivor, Uri Orlev, will speak at the ceremony and, Éclats de mémoire, a film directed by Alain Fleischer especially for the occasion and based on survivors’ testimonies will be screened. There will also be a reading by artist Ysé Tran of excerpts from a manuscript by Zalmen Lewental, Sonderkommando in Auschwitz-Birkenau, and a performance by Russian pianist Sergueï Markarov, UNESCO Artist for Peace, and soloists from the Maîtrise de Caen.
This year’s commemorations will also include a concert by the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra conducted by Frédéric Chaslin (26 January, 7pm, Room I), as well as several exhibitions: Shoah by Bullets: 10 years of investigations, by Yahad - In Unum (26 January-10 February 2015, Hall Ségur), Auschwitz-Birkenau 1940-1945, Concentration Camp and Killing Centre, by the Shoah Memorial (26 January-6 February 2015, Pas Perdus Hall), and 1945: The Liberation of the Camps, by the Shoah Memorial and UNESCO (UNESCO fences, 19 January-6 February 2015).
The International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005 with resolution 60/7, urging Member States “to develop educational programmes to instill the memory of the tragedy in future generations to prevent genocide from occurring again.”
For more information: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/in-memory-of-the-victims-of-the-holocaust
Journalists who wish to attend the ceremonies require accreditation from UNESCO’s Press Service.
Djibril Kebé: d.kebe(at)unesco.org
Isabelle Le Fournis: i.le-fournis(at)unesco.org