Home, belonging, and the Holocaust — Global Issues

In 1933, Hitler began to put the party’s core nationalist and racist ideology into practice, determining who could consider Germany home and who, in their opinion, really belonged. this country.

The process went beyond enacting laws to identify and exclude Jews from society: The Nazis launched disinformation and hate speech campaigns that defamed and dehumanize Jews, and sanction terrorist acts that destroy places of worship, people’s livelihoods and homes.

When Germany gained territory in Europe under the guise of uniting German-speaking peoples, it ensured that similar systematic campaigns would take place in the countries under their control.

Nazis encouraged by ‘deaf silence’

In its message on the occasion of International Day, the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres note that the Holocaust was the culmination of thousands of years of anti-Semitic hatred, supported by the decision of many to do nothing to stop the Nazis. “It was deafening silence – both at home and abroad – that encouraged them.”

This, he continued, despite Nazi hate speech and disinformation campaigns, disregard for human rights and the rule of law, glorification of violence and stories of racial supremacy, as well as disregard for democracy and diversity.

“Faced with growing economic discontent and political instability, escalating white supremacist terrorism, growing religious hatred and bigotry – we must confront more candid than ever,” the UN chief added, comparing the Holocaust and today.

Dolls made by stateless Jewish children at the United Nations refugee camp in Florence after World War II, on display at United Nations Headquarters

United Nations News / Conor Lennon

Dolls made by stateless Jewish children at the United Nations refugee camp in Florence after World War II, on display at United Nations Headquarters

After the apocalypse

The United Nations Holocaust Outreach Program has planned a series of events for January and February at United Nations Headquarters in New York, illustrating the theme of “home and where to belong”, including included a ceremony to mark the International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27.

One of the exhibits, currently on display at the United Nations and running until February 23, focuses on the experiences of Jewish refugees scattered across Europe who are in dire need of help. .

After the Apocalypse: Refugees and Refugee Campsdisplays documents and photographs from the United Nations archives and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Studies, and explains the role of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (UNRRA), established to settled people displaced by war and the Holocaust.

In addition to information and pictures about the refugees, the exhibit also features a number of artifacts, including dolls made by stateless Jewish children living in a displacement camp in Florence, Italy, after the war.

Misinformation, Prejudice and Anti-Semitism

A copy of

United Nations News / Conor Lennon

A copy of “Der Giftpilz”, an anti-Semitic book for children, on display at United Nations Headquarters.

Displacement due to conflict and repression is still a feature today, and misinformation and hate speech, which spreads rapidly around the world thanks to the internet, continues to endanger lives.

Located next to the exhibition on displacement, is another installation illustrating stereotypical conspiracy theories, disinformation, and conspiracies that the Nazis used to vilify Jews, Roma, and immigrants. immigrants, LGBTQIA+ or other groups.

The purpose of “#Fake Image: Unmasking the Danger of Prejudice” is to challenge viewers to unmask the lies that continue to divide and polarize communities, and both exhibitions encourage Visitors compare it to today’s anti-Semitism “#Fake Image” is on display until Feb. 20.

Book name

Until February 17, visitors to the United Nations can also view Yad Vashem’s Book of Holocaust Victims’ Names, which details the names of each of the approximately 4.8 million Holocaust victims alphabetically that Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Memorial Center, has so far recorded and confirmed.

Whenever possible, the notebook records each victim’s date of birth, hometown, and place of death.

These names are taken from Testimonials – templates created by Yad Vashem to record short stories of the lives of Jews killed during the Holocaust – as well as from various lists compiled during and after the Holocaust, and then reviewed by Yad Vashem experts.

Opening speech of Thursday’s exhibit, Mr. Guterres recalled that, in the 1930s, Jews in Germany were forced to adopt an additional name: “Israel” for the male and “Sarah” for the female. The prisoners at Auschwitz were even more dehumanized: when they arrived at the concentration camp, their names were erased and replaced with a burned number on their arm.

“This exhibition is a call to action,” the UN chief said. “About a million victims remain unidentified and we are racing against time. It is a call to remembrance: with fewer and fewer people able to testify in person, we will have to find new ways to carry the memorial torch forward.”

Visiting the UN:

The exhibitions in the United Nations lobby are free and open to the public. Visitors are welcome to visit the exhibition during regular hours (Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm). For more information, check out the United Nations Visitor Center entry guide.


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