"In the perspective of the almost 75 years that have passed since the Holocaust, what has not changed is the desire to annihilate the Jews. What has changed is the ability of the Jews to defend themselves.
Anti-Semitism has not disappeared and - to our regret - neither has the desire to destroy a considerable part of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. They exist and they are strong. Holocaust-denial is being spread by one of the world's major countries, not by a group or by individual countries or by marginal elements, but by Iran which, today, from the UN or any other platform, is the leader of Holocaust-denial while preparing for what they deem to be another Holocaust - the destruction of the state of the Jews."
The 2013 observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust is built around the theme "Rescue during the Holocaust: The Courage to Care", honoring those who risked their own lives to save Jews and others from near certain death under the Nazi regime during the Second World War in Europe.
Marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a new display will open on Sunday January 27, 2013 in the lobby of the Library and Archives Building at Yad Vashem. "Gathering the Fragments - Behind the Scenes of the Campaign to Rescue Personal Items from the Holocaust" will display the process of collection, research, registration and digitization performed in the framework of the nationwide project to rescue personal Holocaust-related items. The opening event will be attended by Holocaust survivors whose personal items are displayed in the exhibition.
Exhibition Curator Michael Tal explained, "The majority of items donated to Yad Vashem during the campaign have come via second- or third-generation descendants of the survivors and others who possess items from their families in Europe. Therefore, most of the information we receive about the items is, at best, only partial. The exhibition therefore showcases the research work carried out at Yad Vashem in order to reconstruct the full story behind each item. We are committed to learning as much as possible about everything that comes to us, and to sharing new insights with the greater public."
Among the special events scheduled at the United Nations in New York:
"Whoever Saves a Single Life … Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust"
This exhibit showcases some of those rare but exceedingly important instances where people fought to safeguard their Jewish fellow citizens during the Holocaust. In a time of overwhelming death and destruction, rescuers did not stand by silently. Their bravery shows us that people are able to make choices and act on them, even in the face of powerful constraints, offering us a lesson on the universal value of the preservation of human life, human dignity, and human rights.
The exhibit has been produced by The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous and will be on view until 18 February 2013.
Film Screening and Panel Discussion of "The Rescuers"
This documentary film by Emmy award-winning filmmaker Michael King chronicles the heroic efforts of a dozen diplomats who used the powers and privileges tied to their postings throughout Europe to save the lives of tens of thousands of Jews during the Second World War. These 12 individuals - from a Muslim Turk stationed in Greece to a Japanese envoy posted in Kaunas, Lithuania - took enormous personal risks to their lives and livelihoods to help others in dire circumstances.
"The Rescuers" is told through the eyes of Stephanie Nyombayire, an activist who lost members of her family in the 1994 Rwanda genocide, and pre-eminent historian Sir Martin Gilbert, who lost family members in the Holocaust. As they travel across 15 countries and three continents interviewing survivors and descendants of the rescuers, they explore the mystery of goodness in the face of danger.
Among those featured in the film are German diplomat and Nazi party member Georg F. Duckwitz in Copenhagen; Varian Fry and Hiram Bingham from the United States in Marseilles; Japanese Consul Chiune Sugihara; the Dutchman Jan Zwartendijk in Kaunas; Turkish Consul Selahattin Ülkümen in Rhodes; British Captain Frank Foley in Berlin; Polish diplomat Henryk Slawik in Budapest; Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who helped coordinate the rescue efforts in Budapest in 1944 with Archbishop Angelo Rotta, representative of the Vatican; Consul Carl Lutz of Switzerland; and Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese Consul stationed in Bordeaux, who issued visas in defiance of his Government's orders, allowing the safe passage of Jews to Portugal. Princess Alice, grandmother of the Prince of Wales, is also recognized for hiding a Jewish family in her Athens palace.