The United Nations held today a remembrance service to honour the memory of the
estimated six million Jews and countless others killed in the Nazi death camps
during the Second World War, highlighting the need to protect children from the
scourges of war.
“One and a half million Jewish children perished,” said Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon during the Holocaust Remembrance Service at the Park East Synagogue in
New York. “Tens of thousands of others were murdered, including people with
disabilities, as well as Roma and Sinti.
“Many died of starvation or disease. Many others were orphaned by the war, or
ripped away from their families. We will never know what these boys and girls
might have contributed to our world. And many survivors were too shattered to
tell their stories. Today, we seek to give voice to those accounts,” Mr. Ban
“Children are uniquely vulnerable to the w
orst of humankind. We must show them the best this world has to offer,” he
President of the General Assembly Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser echoed Mr. Ban’s
remarks and urged countries to protect the rights of those most vulnerable
regardless of race, colour, sex or religious beliefs.
Mr. Al-Nasser stressed that the International Day in Memory of the Victims of
the Holocaust, observed each year on 27 January, ensures that “the Holocaust
will forever remain, in our time and for future generations, a warning to all
people about the dangers of hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice.”
Mr. Al-Nasser also underscored the critical need to establish dialogue among
various faiths to ensure widespread peace and stability.
“As part of our efforts to build peace, we focus on what brings us together: our
shared humanity,” he said. “Initiatives that enhance mutual understanding,
harmony and cooperation — that turn words into action — are the way forward.”
Next week, the UN will remember
the children who perished during the Holocaust with a week of events
culminating in a memorial ceremony to be held in the General Assembly Hall in
New York on Friday.
The events include film screenings, exhibits and talks, as well as the launch of
a website offering videos and testimonials from over a thousand Holocaust
survivors, as well as educational tools and resources for students and teachers.