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Posted on on January 29th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (

At the Noon Briefing to the Press, on Monday 28, 2008, The Spokesperson to the UN Secretary-General addressed the item: **Holocaust Commemoration

“Events to commemorate the Holocaust started today and will last all week here at UN Headquarters. In addition to the launching of a new UN postage stamp, which took place moments ago in this room, there will be a Holocaust memorial ceremony and a concert tonight in the General Assembly Hall from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Performing tonight will be the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Zubin Mehta, along with musicians from Tel Aviv University.

US Congressman and Holocaust survivor Tom Lantos will be represented by his daughter, Katrina Swett, who will read a keynote address.”

The launching of the stamps was mentioned further in:

Press Release

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Today, the United Nations Postal Administration is launching a new stamp in observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.

The stamp, incorporating the award-winning logo of the United Nations Department of Public Information’s “Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme”, is being launched simultaneously for the very first time with a national stamp issued by the Israel Postal Company.                       The United Nations Offices in Geneva and Vienna will also issue a first day cover for the stamp.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the stamp “demonstrates the commitment of the United Nations to pay tribute to all the victims of the Holocaust, honour the survivors, and reaffirms its efforts to help prevent future acts of genocide. In this way, we can help inspire succeeding generations to overcome hatred and bigotry. I am proud Israel joins us by issuing of a national stamp carrying the same design, encouraging us to revere remembrance and look to a century free of barbarism,” he said.

Welcoming this new partnership with the United Nations, Ariel Atias, Israel’s Minister for Communication, said, “The joint issue of a stamp by the United Nations and Israel in observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust represents an important step in worldwide efforts to ensure that the Holocaust will not be forgotten. That event stands as a warning to us all that if we are not vigilant, hatred and racism could emerge once again. The State of Israel deeply appreciates the actions of the United Nations and the United Nations Secretary-General to combat anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.”

The United Nations stamp will be issued in denominations of 41 cents, 0.85 Swiss francs and €0.65 at United Nations Headquarters in New York, and the United Nations Offices in Geneva and Vienna, respectively. The national stamp, issued by the Israel Postal Company in Hebrew, is in a denomination of 4.6 shekels.

United Nations Postal Administration has also made available a joint silk first day cover sheet featuring all three United Nations stamps in English, French and German, cancelled with the first day of issue postmarks.

The stamps were designed by the United Nations Department of Public Information utilizing the logo of the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, which, as mandated by General Assembly resolution 60/7 of 1 November 2005, aims to mobilize civil society for Holocaust remembrance and education, in order to help to prevent future acts of genocide. Please see for more information.

The United Nations Postal Administration issued its first stamps in dollar denominations on 24 October 1951. The stamps were an immediate success and sold out within days. The United Nations is the only organization in the world which is neither a country nor a territory that is permitted to issue postage stamps.

Contacts: Kimberly Mann, Chief of the Advocacy Unit, tel.: 212 963 6835, e-mail:  mann at; Robert Gray, Chief of the United Nations Postal Administration, tel.: 212 963 0827, e-mail:  gray3 at; Merav Lapidot, Spokesperson, Israel Post Company, tel.: 972 54 288 8808, e-mail:  meravla at

* *** *

We came to the UN at 4:30 p.m. in order first to buy the stamps with the first day cancelations, we had a preview of an exhibit that will open on January 29, 2008, and displays facts about Albanian/Kosovarian Muslims (BESA) who saved Jews during the Holocaust and, and were recognized as such by the Jerusalem based Yad V’Shem; then we stayed for the evening events at the Hall of the UN General Assembly, and the concert. In the process we learned how much the UN officials missed from the deeper meanings of what went on that day at the UN.

The UN did release also the following information:

Memory of Holocaust victims honoured through series of UN events

28 January 2008 – Marking the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, United Nations offices worldwide are holding a series of events this week, including concerts, exhibitions and the issuance of a special stamp, to raise awareness about the tragedy and to honour those that perished.

The annual Holocaust Remembrance Week kicked off today at UN Headquarters in New York with the launch of a special postal stamp by the UN Postal Administration. Incorporating the award-winning logo of the Department of Public Information’s “Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme,” the stamp will be issued in New York, Geneva and Vienna, simultaneously with a national stamp issued by the Israeli Postal Company. “Both stamps bear the same design and will carry the same call that we must remember the victims of the Holocaust and continue to stand in solidarity with them,” Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, told reporters at the launch.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon felt strongly that the new stamp demonstrated the UN’s commitment “to pay tribute to all the victims of the Holocaust, honour the survivors, and reaffirms its efforts to help prevent future acts of genocide,” Mr. Akasaka added.

Ariel Atias, Israel’s Minister of Communications, said he was “deeply inspired” by the UN’s decision to issue the stamp and bring it to the public to help ensure that a holocaust would never occur again. That was especially important today, he stated through a translator, when there is a member of the world body calling for Israel’s destruction.

It was in November 2005 that the Assembly designated 27 January, the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, as an annual International Day of Commemoration to honour the victims of the Holocaust, and urged countries to develop educational programmes to instill the memory of the tragedy in future generations.

Ambassador Dan Gillerman of Israel today voiced appreciation for the fact that the Assembly’s resolution designating the International Day has become an ongoing process in an outreach programme whereby people worldwide were taught the lessons and horrors of the Holocaust and made to become part of the army of goodwill committed to the words “never again.”

As part of the activities to mark the Day, General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim took part in an event at the Consulate General of Italy in New York at which he read the names of the Jews deported from Italy and the former Italian territories.

Mr. Kerim will also be among the speakers at the Holocaust Remembrance Day memorial ceremony and concert to be held tonight, featuring the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Zubin Mehta, along with musicians from Tel Aviv University. He is expected to stress that the Day must be more than a commemoration or a remembrance, and serve as a call to action in honour of the victims and survivors. “The Holocaust fed man’s ego with delusions of supremacy, and tried to erase the bonds that all human beings share. We must spare no effort to ensure that we never again witness such evil.”

Other events marking the Day include the unveiling on 30 January by the Department of Public Information of the first permanent exhibit on the Holocaust and the UN, which presents an overview of the tragedy in the context of World War II and the founding of the Organization.

In Vienna, UN staff marked the Day at a solemn ceremony on Friday which brought together representatives of the Jewish community, the Romanis and other affected groups, as well as politicians, the diplomatic community, students and civil society. A key feature of the event was the unveiling of a reproduction of a series of postcards depicting life in a labour camp, originally created by Holocaust victim Karl Schafranek in Eisenerz, Styria in 1940. They are now on display for the first time since being smuggled out of the camp. The exhibition also included paintings by Holocaust survivor of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Adolf Frankl, as well as by Dvora Barzilai from the Exhibition “Shalom Peace Pace.”

In Brazil, an observance was held on 25 January with President Jose Inacio Lula da Silva and the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, César Maia.

In Madagascar, a permanent exhibit on the Holocaust will be unveiled at the UN Information Centre.

The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme is also coordinating a video conference for students with the UN information centres in Antananarivo, Madagascar, and Lomé, Togo, and educators at the “Memorial de la Shoah” in Paris.

In Tokyo on 29 January, an educational workshop targeting young students will focus on the links between the Holocaust and human rights issues. This year’s observance focuses on the need to ensure the protection of human rights for all, and coincides with the 60th anniversary year of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

And the UN Secretary-General, who is now on a trip to Slovenia and Slovakia, that has to do mainly with the forthcoming independence of Kosovo, and then he follows up with a visit to Rwanda, and to the African Union meeting in Addis Ababa, left behind his own statement – released on the 28th, but dated 27th, the correct date of the liberation by the Soviet Army of the death factory of Auschwitz.

—– * —- * —-* —–

Holocaust Remembrance Day is a time to teach tolerance – Ban Ki-moon

27 January 2008 – As the global community today marked the third International Day in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the occasion should serve to honour the victims and educate future generations.

In a message on the Day, the Secretary-General said it is not enough to remember, honour and grieve for the dead. “As we do, we must also educate, nurture and care for the living.”

He called for a special focus on the younger generation. “We must foster in our children a sense of responsibility, so that they can build societies that protect and promote the rights of all citizens,” he said.

Children must gain a respect for diversity before intolerance has a chance to take root, “and a sense of vigilance in case it threatens to do so,” he said. “We must give them the courage and tools they need to make the right choices, and to act in the face of evil.”

Mr. Ban also refuted Holocaust deniers. “To those who claim that the Holocaust never happened, or has been exaggerated, we respond by reiterating our determination to honour the memory of every innocent man, woman and child murdered at the hands of the Nazis and their accomplices,” he said.

“We mourn the systematic genocide of one third of the Jewish people, along with members of other minorities, which deprived the world of untold contributions.”

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said the Day provides the international community with a sober moment of reflection and remembrance. “We can truly honor the victims of the Holocaust by pursuing all efforts to extend the real protection of international human rights law to all those who fall victim to its violations.”

By honouring the memory of those who fell victims to the most “horrendous manifestations of discrimination, hatred and intolerance,” she said the international community reaffirms their dignity as human beings, and its collective failure to protect them.

In the face of continued manifestations of anti-Semitism, “this Day is a call on the world’s conscience and a reminder of the acute necessity to confront intolerance, bigotry, prejudice, ignorance and hatred, early and unequivocally.”

On Saturday, the President of the UN General Assembly said the Day must serve as a global call to action to prevent future carnage. “For the dignity of all humanity, we must strengthen our ability, our collective resolve, to prevent such atrocities, whenever and wherever they might occur,” Srgjan Kerim told congregants at the Park East Synagogue in Manhattan.

Numerous activities are scheduled to be held this week in connection with the Day, including a concert and a joint exhibition, “The Holocaust: Stories of Rescue” at UN Headquarters in New York.

In 2005, the General Assembly designated 27 January, the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, as an annual International Day of Commemoration to honour the victims of the Holocaust, and urged Member States to develop educational programmes to instill the memory of the tragedy in future generations.


One of the underlying events that, even if not mentioned by the country’s name – Iran – or the perpetrators name – Ahmedi-Nejad – was the issue of Holocaust denial, and the recurrence of Anti-Semitism under the guise of Anti-Israeli attitude at the UN coined as Anti-Zionism. As such, the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon left his signature on the stamp cachet – saying:


The Israeli Stamp was not issued by an “Israeli Stamp Company” as the UN release says – but by a branch of the UN Member State – Israel – its government as represented by its Minister of Communication.

Furthermore, the first day cancellation in Israel, was done, as usually accepted, in the capital city of Israel – Jerusalem. The real significance of this joint release of stamps between the World Three UN Cities, New York, Geneva, and Vienna, is the fact that it very unceremoniously recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel – AND THIS IS CLEARLY A TREMENDOUS FIRST WHEN ONE ANALYZES THE UN ATTITUDE TOWARDS ISRAEL.

First let us see the Israeli cachet:



NOW THIS CLEARLY SAYS ISRAEL POST – THAT IS THE ISRAELI POSTAL SERVICE. The cancellations mention January 27, 2008 which was a Sunday – the correct day of the UN Memorial Day for the Holocaust that being this year on a Sunday, it fell on a working day in Israel, but on a non-working day in the three UN cities. This led to the cancellation in correct time in Jerusalem but a release on January 28, 2008, a Monday, in New York City. But funny, the hand cancellation, in pure UN bumbling fashion, carries the date February 1, 2008, which is clearly a philatelic mistake based on someone’s incompetence. (Philatelically, above mistake makes this numbered envelope with the wrong cancellation – more valuable!)

The page from the UN Philatelic Bulletin for January – March 2008 is as follows:




Having Dealt with the Important UN Precedent of The Joint Issuance Of A Stamp And A Jerusalem Cancellation – Let Us See Now What Else Did The UN Department Of Communication and Public Information – Miss Or Misinterpret In this January 28, 2008, Third UN Official Commemoration Of The Memory Of The Inhumanity Of Man.





LOOKING AT THE PROGRAM IT IS QUITE OBVIOUS THAT ISRAEL DID NOT SEND ITS WORLD RENOWN ISRAEL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA TO ENTERTAIN THE UNITED NATIONS – IN EFFECT THERE WAS SOMETHING MUCH MORE IMPORTANT HERE AT PLAY. The virtuoso Maestro Zubin Mehta, who manages simultaneously the New York Philharmonic and the Israeli Philharmonic, is also the head of the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in Tel-Aviv.

The Israeli Philharmonic came into existence when the best musicians of Europe escaped Nazism. They were not all Jewish – it was the pair of the German Jew Huberman and the Italian non-Jew Toscanini that started the orchestra. What the Israeli Ambassador, Dan Gillerman had in mind at the UN Hall of the General Assembly, a usually very inhospitable place for Israel, was to ask the audience that those that were survivors of Nazi camps stand up – and some 50-70 people did. Then he asked the young people on stage – an orchestra of about 100 youngsters – who is a descendant of Holocaust survivors to stand up – and half of the young people stood up.

So, what the UN DPI did not understand – this concert was not intended as entertainment to them – but rather as a celebration of life. These young people, under the baton of Zubin Mehta, came to show to the UN that Israel has survived and will live – this without having to be intimidated by the high walls of the UN General Assembly.

The present President of the UNGA, Minister Srgjan Kerim, a person whose father helped Jews during the war, knew why he was there that night. We understood him well on Saturday when he spoke at the Park East Synagogue, and we understand that earlier on Monday he stood in front of the Italian Consulate on Park Avenue in New York and recited names of Italian Jews that lost their life in camps.

The music was about the future – Beethoven’s 5th, the Kol Nidrei of Max Brod, and the Psalms of the Israeli Paul Ben-Haim.

The two prayers by the in-house cantor of the Park East Synagogue, Cantor Itzhak Meir Helfgot, reminded us how the past came about as highlighted by Katrina Swett, one of the two daughters of US Congressman Tom Lantos, a survivor of Auschwitz, and his wife, also a survivor of concentration camps. In between Katrina, and her sister Annette, the Lantos have now 17 grandchildren.

Tom Lantos is now ill and could not come, but the words he sent, as read by his daughter, were sharp about the past, unforgiving of the UN’s Durban exercises, but full of expressions of hope. His daughter actually got an ovation for her words, as did Cantor Helfgot for the prayers. We intend to attach Tom Lantos’ statement when we manage to obtain it.

UNSG Ban Ki-moon spoke via video, and the evening was managed at first by the present USG for Communications and Public Information, and then by Ambassador Gillerman.

The only non student on the orchestra was Israel Philharmonic’s cellist – Hillel Zori – who got his musical education with the help of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation.


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