UNIC Lusaka, January 25, 2013- Zambia joined the rest of the international community in commemorating the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, an important reminder of the universal lessons of the Holocaust, a unique evil which cannot simply be consigned to the past and forgotten especially at a time when in some parts of the world similar atrocities are being committed of indiscriminate killings of defenseless people mostly women and children.
“The Path to Nazi Genocide” was the focus of the theme for 2014 and looked at how the Nazi
rose to power and used its position to systematically target the Jews and others who they termed as racially inferior. 250 people were in attendance and included The Honorary Australian Consular, H.E. Saul Radunski, who is also Jewish and his family was directly affected by what happened during the war, Reverend Faerber, from Universal Peace Federation, Representatives from the Messianic Association of Zambia, the Jewish Community in Zambia, Jerusalem House of Prayer, Orthodox Jewish Community, Universal Peace Federation Zambia Chapter, High Schools Matero Girls, Rhodes Park, Thornpark and Jacaranda.
The primary focus of the commemoration was video presentation and discussion based on it entitled “The Path to Nazi Genocide” a synopsis of the movie was given to the audience prior to seeing the movie so that they had an understanding of what they were about to watch. This included an explanation of the theme, the message and the setting so that the audience better understood what they were watching and later be in a position to ask questions.
Charles Nonde, Team Assistant at UN Information Centre Lusaka told the audience that in addition to what they had read; the remembrance of the holocaust provides a way into discussing difficult issues such as racism, xenophobia, discrimination and bigotry among different faiths and diverse communities.
In his remarks H.E. Mr. Radunski, stressed the importance of never being used by the political mechanisms to mistreat others and use it as an excuse to kill others, he further said that children need to be inculcated with good values that teach tolerance and fairness for others this way society is groomed to live in peace and harmony, thereby averting any potential threats such as deliberate targeting of others with crimes of hate. Mr. George Okech, FAO Resident Representative read the UN Secretary Generals Message.
The keynote presentation was given by Reverend Faerber from the Universal Peace Federation, entitled “choosing the transformation to a culture of peace”, in it he emphasized the need to be conscious of the fact that people are different but they all have equal rights and opportunities. He also stated that political ideologies, cultural differences should not be used against each other. The youth present were urged not to be used by those pursuing selfish desires and suppressing the rights of others.
Rabbi Yalenga, lead the gathering into the Kaddish prayer and Ha-Tikva, thereafter a candle lighting ceremony in honor of those killed during the Holocaust.
Besides the presentation at the Christian Centre, the documentary was also shown on two TV stations namely Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) and Prime TV with a total viewership of 8 million, social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter were used and bulk sms reached out a further 13 000 people and the following messages where sent out;
- Information on the Holocaust at www.yadvashem.org/holocaust, https://www.un.org/en/holocaustremembrance/
- Intl Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust – watch 1 survivor’s story http://un4.me/7bo-en @7_billionothersMonday: Intl Day of Commemoration in Memory of Victims of the Holocaust. @UNHOP Education material, videos & more: http://j.mp/1fPKoWL
Questions arising from the screening of “The Path to Nazi Genocide”
- What was the holocaust?
- Why were the Jews killed?
- Why the Jewish people are hated so much around the world?
- Where did the Jews come from and why did they go to Germany?
- What does the symbol swastika mean?
- From the film, we have seen how innocent people suffered from the brutality, by the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. This has continued to happen in many parts of the world e.g. Syria, Afghanistan. What is the UN doing about these ongoing wars to make sure the lives of the people are protected?
- After the Jews were rescued from the concentration camps, where did they settle? And if they did settle in Germany were they given back their assets as well as their rights as citizens
- What was the purpose of the war in 1914? In addition, why did German people hate the Jews? What was the purpose of the Nazi genocide?
- What is Anti-Semitism?
- What is an ideological battle?
- How can the lesson gained from the factors that led to the beginning of the holocaust (e.g. Teacher’s neglect of bullying in schools) help us to deal with problems of gender equality between boys and girls in schools today?
- What do the letters NAZI mean?
- Did Hitler want his past doings be known in the future? If not, why would he allow media people to video tape and capture it?
- What happened to Hitler when he was younger? What made him attack the Jews?
- What happened to the people involved in the Nazi genocide?
- Is it true that Hitler was not a German? If so how did he infiltrate from where he belonged, Austria to Germany?
- Adolf Hitler was a determined person to bring about change, but why didn’t he bring about equality to all races?
- What benefit did Hitler find in killing the Jews?
- Why was Germanys’ military force reduced to 13% at the Versailles treaty after World War 1?
- As we remember the holocaust victims in Zambia, how does the UN in Zambia localizing the events so that young people and the society are being sensitized, beyond the gathering present?
- Apart from taking part in commemorating the holocaust, what can the Zambian youth especially students do to help the Jewish people and stop such atrocities from happening again?
- How can modern technology not be used to perpetuate crimes against humanity?
- What specific international laws have been put in place that prohibits the mass killings such as genocides and holocausts which are potential threats to the eruption of the third world war? How effective and serious are they if implemented?
- Are there still any survivors of the holocaust?
- Using the UN platform; are similar approaches (videos, narrations, dialogue) employed to assist war torn countries like Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, etc.?