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Posted on on January 30th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

On November 1, 2005, SIXTY YEARS SINCE THE END OF WORLD WAR II, THE LIBERATION OF THE AUSCHWITZ EXTERMINATION CAMP BY THE SOVIET ARMY, AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE UN, finally, the UN that in major part came about because of the fact that the world realized that walking in the ashes caused by anti-Semitism and other isms, is not the will of the human race; the UN was created to learn from that experience – but did it? It took 60 years, the creation of the State of Israel, the travails of Zionism is Racism abomination, and one strong Ambassador of humanity to the organization – US Professor/ Senator/Ambassador Moynihan, to start to beat the anti-Semitic UN steel into compliance.


UN Designates International Holocaust day
November 1, 2005, release:

The UN General Assembly has decided by acclaim to designate January 27 as international Holocaust Day.

This is the first time ever that a resolution introduced by Israel has been adopted by the UN General Assembly. Some not inconsiderable distance has been traveled from the infamous “Zionism is Racism” resolution to this resolution. At least, the world can be united in condemning genocide, even if “Zionists” propose the initiative. The vision of Austria and Germany co-sponsoring and approving of such a resolution is certainly heartening to the surviving victims of Nazi persecution, to the Jews, gypsies and others whose families died in the Holocaust and to the state of Israel.

Unfortunately, it is not at all certain how some countries will mark this day. Some of the rhetoric of the UN discussion is ominous: Several Muslim and Arab governments expressed “reservations.” Some countries believe that the Holocaust, in which a state turned against noncombatant civilians, was the same as bombing the cities of enemy countries at war. In many of the countries that approved of this resolution and even among those whose representatives spoke kind words about humanitarianism, Mein Kampf and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are best sellers. Some of those countries have been accessories after the fact to genocide, or committed it themselves. In those countries, every day is Holocaust day. From the remarks of the Ukrainian representative, you would not know that the Jews of the Ukraine were rounded up by Ukrainian SS, or that the gas chambers at Auschwitz were run by a Ukrainian nicknamed “Ivan the terrible.”

What public activities will mark Holocaust day in Iran, where President Ahmedinejad has called for a world without Zionism and America? In Syria, a book about the Blood Libel (the accusation that Jews kill Christian children in order to use their blood for baking Matzot) was written by the former minister of Defense. Syria also made notable contributions to the history of racial persecution in its treatment of the Kurds. Will Syria mark this day in sympathy with the victims, or will they celebrate it by showing, perhaps, a screening of Lenni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will? Will this day become an occasion for so-called “anti-Zionists” to trot out Holocaust denial and accusations that Israel is committing a Holocaust against the Palestinians, or that the Zionists collaborated with the Nazis?

Will the world again stand aside at the next genocide, as it did in Rwanda, and as it did for a very long time in Darfur, and as it continues to do in Tibet? In the discussion, each state was quick to accuse others of genocide, but unwilling to accept responsibility for crimes of their own states and governments. The Venezuelans spoke about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Chinese alluded to Japanese crimes. The Ukrainians alluded to Soviet crimes. The discussion would have more meaning if the Americans had spoken about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Chinese had spoken about their activities in Tibet, the Japanese had spoken the rape of Mongolia and the Turks had spoken of the Armenian genocide.

The implementation of the resolution will be of more consequence than the paper or the words themselves,  and the reality of the actions of states will be more important than either.

The proliferation of vile Web sites and articles about the “Holocaust Myth,” claiming the Holocaust never happened and is yet another Jewish plot, points up the urgent need for this day of remembrance.

Alert readers of what was said that say will note some bitter ironies in the remarks of representatives of some states, whose people and governments were active collaborators or passive accessories in the crime of the Holocaust.

The date – January 27 – was picked as that was the date the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination machine was closed by the Soviet army.

The first commemoration was held at the UN in 2006 and this year we have thus the fifth such event – or actually a series of events, that traditionally start on the Saturday before the actual date with a ceremony at the Park East Synagogue located on Manhattan’s East Side – Midtown.

The list of this year’s events at the UN, as provided to parties outside the UN – and published on our website is:…

But besides the UN itself, the fact that the UN has thrown the light upon the Holocaust atrocities, and the world’s need to remember these atrocities by having an International day of Remembrance, it is now that even in unexpected places in the civilized world, we find events being organized for the purpose of remembering and of learning from that experience. We thought thus to mention here one such event in a place we hardly expected to find it – the main Carnival city of the North-East of Brazil – Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil.…

We will be reporting on this year’s week-long series in several postings that will involve also other related events – for now we will put up the clear Jewish angle to the comemoration – as it reflected in the Park East Sybagogue events and in the political official presentation at the UN main event of January 27, 2010


by H.E. Srgjan Kerim President of the 62nd session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Park East Synagogue
New York, 26 January 2008

Rabbi Schneier,
Members of Park East Synagogue,
Dear Friends,

I am very grateful to Rabbi Schneier for inviting me to the Park East
Synagogue – a historic architectural treasure in the heart of

I am sure that you are all very proud of Rabbi Schneier for his
commitment and spiritual leadership that has brought this synagogue
international recognition.

It was only five years ago that I had my first opportunity to attend
and participate in a Jewish ceremony, here at the Park East Synagogue.
The experience inspired me to write a poem entitled ‘Temple’. I would
like to share a short extract with you today. I hope you will
appreciate it;

Nowhere in the world is it possible
To find such a grandiose temple
That would keep for ages
The layers of human sin
And all our shame.

I’ve always believed
There’s nothing greater in a temple
Than the final sounds melting
In the concluding Amin
Until I heard the word
Of a great friend of mine
Who walked in the steps of Moses
And is called a Rabbin.

Park East Beit Knesset,

I wish there would not have been such an occasion for me to address
you today. However, as we all know the Holocaust happened. It is
definitely one of the darkest pages in the history of mankind.

Unfortunately, we are still facing some lonely, desperate attempts to
blur the horrifying dimensions of the Holocaust.

We gather here today to remember and pay homage to those who lost
their lives in the Holocaust; the atrocities that they were subjected
to can never be forgotten.
The perpetrators of the Holocaust fed man’s ego with delusions of
supremacy and tried to erase the bonds that all human beings share.

The liberation of the Nazi concentration camps over 60 years ago
revealed one of the most evil crimes against humanity. The
consequences still reverberate in the present.

Elie Wiesel – Nobel Laureate, a Holocaust survivor and champion of
moral responsibility – has best put this into perspective:

“Let us remember, let us remember the heroes of Warsaw, the martyrs of
Treblinka, the children of Auschwitz. They fought alone, they suffered
alone, they lived alone, but they did not die alone, for something in
all of us died with them.”

We must also remember to pay tribute to those who survived and bravely
carried on with their lives – and in doing so inspired others. I would
like to salute the strength and perseverance of all Holocaust
survivors and their families.

I know that some of you are with us today.

Not only have you survived, but you have rebuilt communities all over
the world, become stronger, and enabled future generations to thrive.
You just have to look around at all the people gathered here today to
recognize this fact.

The recognition of this day of Holocaust remembrance by the
international community heralded a change of tide at the United
Nations; and, a step forward in the collective memory and conscience
of our world.

Dear Friends,
Remembrance of the Holocaust is more than the recognition of a tragic
past – or the darker side of human nature.

Remembering is an ethical act; it has ethical value in itself.

Remembrance is also a means through which we can understand ourselves:
an engine for change that should enable us to create and sustain a
better, more just future.

I am reminded of my father and his family. During the Second World War
he bravely helped to save and protect the family of Isac Sion – his
school friend – amidst the terror of occupation.

At the age of twenty my father and Isac subsequently joined the
National Liberation Movement of Macedonia to fight for freedom,
against the Nazi dictatorship, alongside the Allies.

Isac Sion subsequently went on to become Vice-governor of the Central
Bank of the Former Yugoslavia and following this was appointed as
Yugoslavia’s trade representative to the United Kingdom.

My father and many others like him served the Jewish people in their
hour of need. Their actions epitomize the practical meaning of
something profound that the famous Irish politician and philosopher
Edmund Burke once said, and I quote;

“All that is needed for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

When I had my first opportunity, in some small way, to redress the
atrocities committed during the Holocaust – as foreign Minister of
Macedonia – in 2000, I appointed Elie Wiesel as our first Special
Envoy and Goodwill Ambassador. He then became the United Nations
Messenger of Peace for Human Rights and the Holocaust.

And, in honour of the Jewish community, my country will soon complete
the construction of a Holocaust Memorial Centre. This is a symbolic
gesture to bring back the memory of the victims from Treblinka to

Looking back at the turbulent history of the Balkan region there are
some bitter lessons that we must learn: war begins when the perception
of the pain of others ends. We can also turn this around to say that
when the perception of the pain of others begins there is no room for

We must remember that every religion and culture must be tolerant of
the legitimate right for others to assert their difference in freedom.

Furthermore, intolerance of other religions or cultures is often a
sign of the degree of intolerance within a particular religion or

Dear Friends and members of Park East Beit Knesset,

The United Nations was founded on the ashes of the Holocaust, when the
world was in need of hope for a better future.
It was created to embody that hope as a promise to humanity. However,
most disturbingly, since the Holocaust there have been genocides and
serious crimes against humanity in Cambodia, Rwanda, and Yugoslavia.

That these atrocities occurred is not necessarily the failure of the
United Nations as an organization; but rather, represents the lack of
collective will of its Member States to take the decision to act or

Even while we gather here, there are places – like Darfur – where
people suffer from the very crimes, which, time and time again, we
have vowed would never again happen.

For the dignity of all humanity, we must strengthen our ability – our
collective resolve – to prevent such atrocities, whenever and wherever
they might occur.

Indeed, terrorism, violence, rape, murder, poverty and discrimination
on the grounds of race or religion continue to be part of the everyday
lives of many people. This fact alone should jar us with indignation.

Despite the tragic failures of the international community to prevent
crimes against humanity since the founding of the United Nations,
there is hope – failure is not an option.

In 2005, the General Assembly passed a resolution that included the
‘Responsibility to Protect’. In doing so, all nations signaled their
commitment to take action – to hold themselves accountable – to
recognize that with sovereign rights come responsibilities to their

In fact all of us here today can add our voice, with the United
Nations, to ensure that this new paradigm within international
relations comes to life.

Rabbi Schneier offers us an example of what we can do. He has been a
great advocate for human rights, and the promotion of religious and
ethnic tolerance. He has worked tirelessly to strengthen ties with
communities from different faiths and backgrounds through his good
works and publications.

In 2003 we jointly organized the first ever South East European
regional conference on ‘Dialogue among Civilizations’, at Lake Ohrid
in Macedonia.

In this spirit, and as we have just celebrated the life of the great
Martin Luther King Jr., I think it is fitting that I should recount
something he once said. It captures the same call to action that needs
to be instilled in the world today if we are to prevent a repeat of
the Holocaust;

“injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere….. Whatever
affects one directly, affects all directly.”

Dear Friends,

On the occasion of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of
the victims of the Holocaust, as well as of the 60th Anniversary of
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, let us embrace our
diversity, and honor our interdependence, as the only path to peace
and justice.

Together, it is our common challenge to eliminate all distorted
notions that deepen barriers and widen divides: for they all originate
in the discriminatory practices of the mind.

We can achieve this by promoting intercultural dialogue and
cooperation for peace as a means to replace misunderstanding with
mutual respect and acceptance.

But we must also move from words to action, from principled intentions
to deeds that promote human security, human rights, the responsibility
to protect and sustainable development. For herein lies the hope of a
new culture of international relations with the United Nations as its

Members of Park East Beit Knesset,
And, all those gathered here today,

Let me wish all of you and the wider community peace, health and prosperity.

Let all our thoughts honour the victims of the Holocaust, and let us
spare no effort to ensure that we never again witness such evil. We
may not be able to change the past, but we must have the courage and
vision to change the future.

In order to do so, it is not enough to reiterate solemn gestures; we
must do everything possible to transform our attitudes to have full
regard for the dignity of all individuals, communities and nations.

Thank you. Shalom.


But that was the last President of the UN General Assembly to be welcome

to speak before a Jewish Audience – in those 5 years. Before him were: Mr. Jan Eliasson of Sweden #60,

and Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa of  Bahrain #61.

Now it is UNGA’s 64th session: On 10 June 2009, Ali Abdussalam Treki

of Libya was elected by acclamation at a plenary meeting of the

192-member body of the United Nations General Assembly.

Treki assumed office as president of the 64th session on 15 September 2009,
succeeding General Assembly president, Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann of
Nicaragua who was 63rd President of the UNGA. Both these gentlemen
have made anti-Israeli statements and were also mentioned in this
context as plain anti-Semites, thus making it impossible to listen to
their linguistic expressions when it comes to the commemoration of the
liberation of Auschwitz. Thus, these last two years, the presentations
at the UN, it was Vice Presidents of the UNGA that spoke in their
place, and the UN General Assembly as such was not represented at the
Saturday pre-commemoration service at the Park East Synagogue.

But in 2009, The Park East Congregation had the honor to host the UN
Secretary General.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
24 January 2009

Remarks at Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony at the Park East Synagogue:

Thank you very much, Rabbi [Arthur] Schneier, for that kind introduction.

I especially appreciate you for calling me a mensch. With apologies to
those of you who do not speak Yiddish, I have to say: thank goodness
he didn’t call me meshugenah.

To all, I wish you Shabat Shalom.

Excellencies, distinguished Ambassadors to the United Nations,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today we mark the International Day of Commemoration honoring victims
of the Holocaust. This is a most important and solemn occasion.

As you know, my friend, the late Tom Lantos, died shortly after last
year’s observance. Some of you may have met him when he came to this
Synagogue. He was dear to me, as he was to you. He made an
extraordinary journey from a Nazi labor camp to the halls of Congress.
He became a leading champion of truth and justice. Like those of you
who also lived through the Holocaust, he was never defeated by the
unspeakable horrors that he survived.

I can only imagine what he endured. Yet I, too, have witnessed man’s
inhumanity to man. I have seen it as Secretary-General, traveling in
places torn by war. And I saw it as a six-year old boy fleeing to the
mountains to escape fighting in my own country.

The UN helped South Korea to recover. Like Tom Lantos, like many of
you, I came to believe in the transformative power of the United

Today, the UN is on the cusp of a great transition. Never have global
challenges been so large. Climate change, terrorism, the global
financial crisis – these troubles transcend borders. They affect all
countries, rich and poor. They will be overcome only when all
countries come together in response. That’s why we have a United

Yes, the UN has its imperfections. It’s not perfect. Because of this,
from day one since I took office, I have pushed to change it. I have
insisted on a new culture of transparency and accountability. I have
worked to make the UN more efficient, effective, modern. In short, we
have tried to make it a better instrument to serve mankind.

We are here to mark the Holocaust. Like you, the United Nations is
determined to tell its timeless lessons.

Precisely two years ago, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution
condemning, without reservation, any denial of the Holocaust. I quote:
“Ignoring the historical fact of those terrible events increases the
risk they will be repeated.”

With you, I stand in saying: never again. Never. When I paid tribute
to Holocaust victims at Yad Vashem, I wrote in the book there, “Never
again. Never.”

Memory speaks. That is why it must be preserved and passed to future

Our Holocaust Outreach Program sponsors exhibits, workshops and panel
discussions. The aim: to confront deniers, or those who would minimize
the importance of the Holocaust.

When President Ahmadinejad of Iran declared that Israel should
“disappear,” or be “wiped off the map,” I strongly condemned his
remarks – twice.

We at the United Nations stand for human rights.

We stand for democracy and the rule of law. By working for economic
and social development, we build the foundations for peace.

We have a new instrument in our hands. It is called the Responsibility
to Protect – the idea that every nation has a legal obligation to
protect its people from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and
crimes against humanity. Where nations fall short, the international
community has the right to take collective action.

Yes, it is difficult in practice. But I assure you. This is a major
advance in safeguarding mankind from crimes against humanity.

My friends,

Today is not simply a time for remembering. The Holocaust has lessons
for us, here and now. Let us heed them.

My job can sometimes be terribly painful. I see unbelievable hardship,
the worst human suffering. You are familiar with the grim catalogue of
names and places: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Darfur,
Somalia and, of course, the Middle East.

I am just back from the region. I went to push for a cease-fire. More,
I went in search of a lasting peace.

The recurring violence between Palestinians and Israelis is a mark of
collective political failure – by both sides and by the international

I saw first-hand what most people saw on television. I met a child and
his parents in Sderot, southern Israel, traumatized by falling
rockets. Never for one moment have I forgotten that a million people
in southern Israel live in a daily state of terror and fear.

In Gaza, I saw the most appalling devastation. I saw the UN compound,
still burning.

I said to all I met, on both sides: This must stop.

I left the region more determined than ever to work toward a world
where two States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace and
security. War can never be an answer. We need to strengthen the forces
of peaceful coexistence and dialogue.

No one sees this more clearly than your own Rabbi Schneier. He has
devoted his life to overcoming hatred and intolerance.

You all know him as the founder and president of the Appeal for
Conscience Foundation. What you may not know, and what I am very
grateful to him for, is his pioneering work for the UN’s Alliance of

He knows first-hand that no one man or nation has all the answers. He
knows the sacred value of tolerance. He has survived the greatest
trials that life can hurl at a man or a woman and emerged not only
with his humanity and spirit intact but stronger. He survived the
Holocaust. Like others among you, he never lost sight of man’s
essential humanity, our capacity for good, our inherent dignity.

So, let us be frank. We must recognize the limits of power and
goodwill. We here know that we can never entirely rid the world of its
tyrants and its intolerance. We cannot turn all extremists to the path
of reason and light. We can only stand against them and raise our
voices in the name of our common humanity.

Tom Lantos was fond of saying that even the littlest actions, the
smallest of our daily deeds, can do much to leave this earth better,
less evil, less selfish, less monstrous than we found it. And he
stressed that doing these things, even in a modest way, gives you the
energy to keep moving forward. On this day of days, that seems to me
to be good advice.

As we remember the victims of the Holocaust, let us reaffirm our faith
in the dignity of humankind and our extraordinary resilience – our
moral strength – even amid history’s darkest chapters.

Thank you very much.


On January 23, 2010, before a full house at Park East Synagogue, the
main speaker for Saturday Pre-Commemoration of the International
Holocaust Remembrance Day was  Ambassador Susan Rice of the USA, and
at the actual ceremony at the UN General Assembly Hall was German
Ambassador to the UN H.E. Peter Wittig.

The remarks were:……

At the Park East Service this year, a further Honored Guest was Rabbi Ricardo Di Segni, the Chief Rabbi of Rome, who has been visited at his Synagogue by the Pope, also as part of this year’s Holocaust Remembrance.

Also present were Ambassador Thomas Mayr-Harting of Austria, Ambassador Peter Wittig of Germany, Ambassador Gerard Araud of France, Ambassador Anastassis Mitsialis of Greece, Ambassador Marta Horvathne Fekzi of Hungary, H.E. Most Reverend Celestino Migliore the Permanent Representative of the Vatican, Ambassador Yukio Takasu of Japan, Ambassador Cesare Maria Ragaglini of Italy, Ambassador Mohamed Loulichki of Morocco, Ambassador Jim McLay of New Zealand, Ambassador Andrzey Towpik of Poland, Ambassador Juan Antonio Yanez-Barnuevo of Spain, Ambassador Rayko S. Raytchev of Bulgaria, Ambassador Kim Won-soo, from the UN Secretary General’s Office, and about further twenty top Diplomatic Representatives. But I must remark that from all the Islamic and African Countries only Morocco was present – and from the newly emerging States only Brazil and China were present.

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