Diversity and Lessons to be Learned for Human Understanding

Holocaust Survivors.jpg

In observance of the International Day of Commemoration, a time of recognition for the victims of the Holocaust, the DPI/NGO presented a briefing about tolerance in the midst of diversity. Ms. Diallo said she hopes this conversation will acknowledge all victims and remind people of the lives lost, as well as constant need to resist racism and violence. Ms. Mann discussed how the past has proven that racism is a learned behavior and can be counteracted. Ms. Kaidanow highlighted the importance of passing on Holocaust stories to preserve history, enabling the future generations to avoid similar mistakes. Ms. Kaidanow also claimed that education is the number one weapon against bigotry and ignorance. Ms. Sommer underlined that there is a rise in anti-Semitism–a sign that the fight against denial, apathy, and indifference is not over. Her approach is to use media to reach out with the educational programs, specifically through the social media slogan, #weremember.

Mr. Michaels revealed his organization’s efforts to bridge the gaps between Jewish and non-Jewish neighbors with the European Day of Jewish Culture. Ms. Mann remarked how the Nazis failed in their attempt to destroy Jewish culture and heritage. Then Mr. Sirois described the intricate pyramid of hate:

  • 1st layer: Acts of Bias, Crude Jokes
  • 2nd layer: Acts of Prejudice, Bullying and Exclusion
  • 3rd layer: Acts of Discrimination
  • 4th: Bias-motivated Violence
  • 5th: Genocide

Mr. Siois also mentioned that the pyramid will progress if unchecked and stressed the importance of curtailing the 1st and 2nd layers before progression. Mr. Siois ended the meeting with the rhetorical question: Who are we here today, and how will we be remembered tomorrow?

Meeting: DPI/NGO briefing entitled “Diversity and Lessons to be Learned for Human Understanding”

Date/Location: Thursday, January 25, 2018; 11:00-12:30; Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers: Ms.Hawa Diallo, Public Information Officer, NGO Relations Section, United Nations Department of Public Information; Ms.Kimberly Mann, Chief of Education Outreach, United Nations Department of Public Information; Ms.Sarah Kaidanow, NGO youth representative, Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center (HHREC); Ms.Evelyn Sommer, Chair, World Jewish Congress North America; Mr.David.J Michaels, Director of United Nations and Intercommunal Affairs, B’nai B’irth International; Mr.Jason Sirois, Director of No Place for Hate, Anti-Defamation League

Written By: WIT Representative Nicole Matsanov

 

Holocaust Remembrance: Education Against Extremism & Building and Better Future

8422424721_e2702290ca_b

In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day, NGO Relations, Advocacy and Special Events Section and the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, Outreach Division and the Department of Public Information organized a meeting to discuss the importance of education against extremism. Throughout the briefing, the curator of the Permanent Exhibition at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Dr. Steven Luckert, continually placed special emphasis on the role that propaganda had during the rise of the Nazi party. The Nazi movement was a rapid rise of power. Within a few years, the Nazi party won 230 seats in parliament, becoming for the first time the largest party in parliament. It was advertised as a “party of youth, a party for the future.” Widespread propaganda was so efficiently distributed by the Nazis that it was one of the most effective factors leading German constituents to vote for an extremist party.

Dr. Steven Luckert explained that Adolf Hitler was one of the first German politicians to craft a public persona by practicing and perfecting charismatic gestures, creating a trademark logo, and using slogans that appealed to mass mindsets. Dr. Luckert noted that Hitler recognized women’s influence in Germany. The majority of women voters were swayed by the party as well, although there were no promises of progress for women’s rights. Hitler’s campaign of propaganda was carefully curated. It included influencing children through boardgames and anti-semitic word problems in mathematics textbooks and the promise of protection from Jewish people rather than a war of aggression against them. Dr. Luckert’s in depth analysis of Hitler’s rapid rise to power called for a more careful consumption of widespread modern media and warned of the influences it has on societies today.

Meeting: “Holocaust Remembrance: Educating against Extremism, Building a Better Future” (In observance of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the victims of the Holocaust (27 January)) (organized by the NGO Relations, Advocacy and Special Events Section and the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, Outreach Division, Department of Public Information (DPI)

Date/ Time/Location: Thursday, 26 January 2017; 11:00 to 12:30; UN Headquarters Conference Room 1

Speakers: Kimberly Mann, Manager of the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme; Steven Luckert; Curator of the Permanent Exhibition at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; Jamey Fischer, Professor of German and Cinema and Digital Media, University of California, Davis and Director of the Davis Humanities Institute; Thomas Schieb, Minister Plenipotentiary of Germany to the United Nations; Virginie Ladisch, Head of the Children and Youth Programme at the International Center for Transitional Justice; Gillian Kitley, Senior Officer and Head of Office of the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect

Written By: Janice Park, WIT Representative

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

“The Holocaust, Homosexuals and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Today”

The United Nations DPI/NGO Relations organized and led an expert panel to discuss the International Holocaust Remembrance Day that the United Nations honored on January 27th. In particular, this meeting was created to talk about the treatment of homosexuals and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender during this period of time. The Chief of NGO Relations, Mr. Brez stated that we can achieve the United Nation’s goal and mission of leaving no person behind in 2015. 220px-Pink_triangle_up.svgThus, learning from the plights of subcultures within society will help us engender a more positive, accepting outlook on the rest of humankind. The next speaker, Mr. Jensen, talked about the history of the treatment of homosexuals in Nazi Germany: “Carl Vaernet conducted experiments on those convicted of homosexuality at Buchenwald.” He emphasized the idea that understanding history is crucial in understanding the atrocity of the crimes committed against human kind. The next speaker, Mr. Bustamante stressed how learning about the history of the Rights of Discriminated people aligns with the UN’s goal of advocacy and education. He stated, “equality is for all, and no one should be discriminated against.” Mr. Radcliffe spoke of the human right abuses in Nazi Germany and the progress humanity has made to have a more inclusive society, accepting of same-sex relationships as well as other definitions of “family.” However, he qualified those statements by reminding the audience that some countries today are still behind the curve, and there are still people and groups of people that are discriminated against. In closing, Mr. Radcliffe suggested that there remains work to be done to make sure groups are not marginalized, and one important step would be advocating policy and legislative change by working with civil societies, victims, and human rights monitors.

Meeting: The Holocaust, Homosexuals and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Today

Thursday, January 29, 2015; 11:00-12:30; Conference Room 2

Speakers: Jeffrey Brez, Chief of NGO Relations and Advocacy at UN Department of Public Information; Erik Jensen, Associate Professor of history at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio; Charles Radcliffe, Chief of Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; Rafael de Bustamante, Counselor – Human Rights and Social Affairs – EU Delegation to the UN

Written By: Daniel Cho

Edited By: Modou Cham

The 70th Anniversary of the Deportation of the Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust

United Nations, New York Headquarters, 23 January 2014

The first DPI/NGO briefing of the winter season was held on January 23, commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Deportation of the Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust. Dr. Carol Rittner, Professor of Holocaust & Genocide Studies, said that “The success of the Nazi ‘Final Solution of the Jewish Question’ in Europe depended to a very large extent, on the cooperation, or at least the indifference and passivity, of the non-Jewish populations under Nazi rule.” She said less than one-third of the Jews of Hungary survived the Holocaust. In her final remarks Dr. Rittner said, “Never be a perpetrator. Never be a victim. Never, but never be a bystander.”

Agnes Vertes was the next speaker. She is a Holocaust survivor who was born in Budapest in 1940. “I am very happy and very lucky to be here but it wasn’t meant to be,” she said. When she was four years old, Ms. Vertes said, her family disintegrated in a pursuit to evade deportation and eventually death.

The Permanent Representative of Hungary said that the Hungarian government has declared the year 2014 as the Hungarian Holocaust Memorial Year. The Holocaust commemoration year, he said, provides an opportunity for the whole nation to face the past and apologize.

Speakers: Dr. Carol Rittner RSM, Distinguished Professor of Holocaust & Genocide Studies, The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey; Mrs. Agnes Vertes, a Hungarian Holocaust Survivor; and H.E. Mr. Csaba Kőrösi, Permanent Representative of Hungary to the United Nations.

Written By WIT Representative: Shan Cheema.