In International Memory: Commemorating the Victims of the Holocaust

The special event was hosted in honor of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. The program consisted of various speakers, including Holocaust survivors who gave their testimony. The first speaker was the Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, who stated that today was a day of both remembrance and celebration, as January 27 was the day the remaining inmates of the Auschwitz concentration camp were finally liberated. The Secretary-General also explained that the Holocaust remembrance is linked with the founding principles of the United Nations, which is shown in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

One notable speaker was Mrs. Marta Wise, who is a Jewish survivor. She was 10 years old when she and her sister were sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. She is one of the few remaining survivors who were there when the soldiers of the Red Army liberated the inmates. She described the horrible pain and trauma she experienced in the camp, and she explained how she and her sister were put in the medical experiment block of the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, where they were subjected to horrible experiments. Mrs. Wise said that people often asked her where was God during the Holocaust, but she wonders where was man?

Another notable speaker was Her Excellency Samantha Power. She explained that it is often difficult not to lose oneself in the death of millions of victims, and the scale is so massive as to feel unknowable. She stated that nothing will be like the Holocaust, but there are still contemporary atrocities today. She explained the important role we have to play as the upstanders, and that it is even more important with the surge of anti-Semitism in various parts of the world today. The event concluded with special musical performances.

Meeting: Special event on the occasion of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust on the theme “The Holocaust and human dignity” (27 January) (organized by the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, Department of Information))

Date/Location: Wednesday January 27, 2015, 11:00 – 13:00; General Assembly Hall

Speakers: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon; Her Excellency Ms. Samantha Power, Permanent Representative of the United States to the UN; His Excellency Mr. Felix Klein, Special Representative for Relations with Jewish Organizations, Federal Government of Germany; Mr. Szabolcs Takács, Chair of International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance; Mrs. Marta Wise, Jewish survivor; Mr. Zoni Weisz, Sinto survivor; Mr. Haim Roet, Jewish survivor

Written By: WIT Representative Kangho (Paul) Jung

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Photo Credit: UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of World War I

The French and German Mission to the United Nation jointly organized a special event in commemoration of 100th anniversary of the start of the seminal catastrophe of the 20th century – the World War One. Mr. Launsky-Tieffenthal, the master of ceremonies, brought the audience’s attention to the 25 member states that co-hosted the event. They span from five continents, which serves to remind the audience that the global effect that the World War I left to people around the world. The global nature of the conflict is also reflected by the letters and diaries of those in the war, which were read during the event. The letters read are not only letters of the soldiers of the belligerent nations in Europe, but also those of the Red Cross nurses and colonial expeditionary forces drafted into the conflict.

IMG_9057 The Secretary-General commented that “the First World War was supposed to have been the war to end all wars”, yet “the battlefields of the Somme, Gallipoli, Passchendaele, Ypres and Verdun form just part of the human roll-call of carnage and unconscionable casualties etched into our collective memory”. He also said with regret that despite of the lessons learnt, military option is still chosen by some as a means to resolve problems. The Secretary-General also took the opportunity to remind the audience of the nature of the settlement followed by the war, and said that it is a particular apt time to reflect the way to ensure peace in the world as the UN steps into its 70th anniversary next years.

Three pieces of war-inspired music were played by the ORPHEUS Chamber Orchestra. The pieces, which are composed by Samuel Barber, Maurice Ravel, and Ludwig van Beethoven respectively, reflect the different moods of the grief of war and anxiety for peace and fraternity among all.

Meeting Title: Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Beginning of World War I

Speakers: H.E. Mr. Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information; H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations; Interns from the Permanent Missions of France and Germany; and an Intern from the Department of Public Information
Location: Economic and Social Chamber, United Nations Headquarters
Date: 8th July 2014
Written By WIT Representative: Harrison Chung
Edited By WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan