UN recalls 1.5M children killed during Holocaust

(L-R: Mr. Lee Blumenthal, head of the Jewish community in the Philippines; Ms. Yulia Rachisnky-Spivakov, Deputy Head of Mission of the State of Israel in Manila; Director Arlene Gonzales-Macaisa, Department of Foreign Affairs-UNIO)

About 160 university students gathered at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) on 26 January 2018 to take part in a commemorative event recalling the memory of the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust, or the systematic killing of Jews by Nazi Germany during World War II.

Organized by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Manila, the 2018 Holocaust remembrance event focused on the children of the Holocaust. It featured an exhibit opening, a student briefing and a film showing.

In a video message, shown during the event, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “Decades since the Second World War, we see the persistence of anti-Semitism and an increase in other forms of prejudice. And too often, vile views are moving from the margins to the mainstream of societies and politics. We must stand together against the normalization of hate.”

In the student briefing, Ms. Yulia Rachisnky-Spivakov, Deputy Chief of Mission of the State of Israel in Manila, said, “All of us today have a special obligation. An obligation to never lose sight of what went wrong and how it happened. And an obligation to be ever vigilant in the face of persistent anti-Semitism and other forms of hate in our time.”

Meanwhile, UNIC Manila National Information Officer Teresa Debuque enjoined the students to “remember never to forget what happened during the Holocaust” and to call out “Holocaust deniers who say that the Holocaust is a myth that was created by and perpetuated by the Jewish people.”

Earlier, the exhibit was opened by Ms. Rachisnky-Spivakov, Ms. Debuque, Ms. Arlene Gonzales-Macaisa, Director for Peace and Security of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and Mr. Lee Blumenthal, head of the Jewish community in the Philippines.

The exhibit, called “The Butterfly Project,” highlighted the stories of five Jewish children who lived and died during the Holocaust, including Anne Frank. The exhibit gets its name from an initiative of the same name that was started in 1996 by the Holocaust Museum in Houston. Students around the world were invited to express their empathy and hope through the creation of a butterfly. The Butterfly Project aims to teach social responsibility, respect for diversity and the importance of human rights.

The exhibit opening was followed by the ceremonial lighting of six candles, in memory of the six million Jews who were murdered during World War II.

The International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust is observed by the UN on January 27 of every year. January 27 is also the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.

The “Holocaust Remembrance” day was created by UN General Assembly resolution 60/7, which was adopted on 1 November 2005. The same resolution created the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, which seeks to remind the world of the lessons to be learned from the Holocaust in order to help to prevent future acts of genocide.

You may view photos of the event at: http://bit.ly/2E66eeR