UNESCO to organize major event on International Holocaust Day

By Joseph Byron

PARIS (EJP)—For the first time, UNESCO, the Paris-based UN agency for education and culture, will co-organize at the end of this month a major event in the framework of the annual commemoration of International Holocaust Day.

The event, on January 27, will be coordinated with the Israeli delegation to UNESCO, David Kornbluth, Israel’s ambassador to the UN agency, said.

The ceremony, under the patronage of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Israeli President Shimon Peres, will be attended by several personalities, including UNESCO Director General Koichiro Matsuura, Simone Veil, honorary president of the Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah and Itzhak Herzog, Israel’s Minister for Social Affairs.

At this occasion, French television station France 2 will present the premiere of the film “Resistance. When it was necessary to save the Jews?”

An exhibition showing pictures taken by SS in the Auschwitz death camp in May or June 1944 will be opened to the public.

In November 2005, the United Nations General Assembly decided to designate January 27 as international Holocaust Day.

A recent report by the Washington-based David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies has found that Holocaust denial activity was up worlwide in 2007 following a drop in 2006 due to the imprisonment in Austria of British Holocaust denier David Irving.

After being expelled from Austria to the UK last year, Irving and other Holocaust deniers continued theiur activities in various countries, including holding a conference in Italy, the institute report said.

The report cited also positive developments such as the adoption of resolutions by the UN General Assembly and UNESCO opposing Holocaust denial, the fact that the European Union urged its 27 member states to adopt legislation prohibiting Holocaust denial and efforts by some European governments, especially Germany and Austria, to prosecute Holocaust deniers.

“When European governments prosecuted individual Holocaust-deniers, it led to a decrease in denial activity overall,” Dr Rafael Medoff, director of the Wyman Institute, said.

He added :”But when there was leniency, such as releasing David Irving from prison early, it had the opposite effect.”


European Jewish Press (Brussels) – January 6, 2008