‘I will say no to terrorism and genocide’
• Students vow to end hatred, discrimination as UNIC remember Holocaust victims in Lagos
OVER 650 students from 15 secondary schools in Lagos on Tuesday gathered to observe the 2015 International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the holocaust and unanimously echoed, “Holocaust…Never Again.”
Capturing the mood of the students after watching the film, “Kinderblock 66: Return to Buchenwald” were Miss Miracle Mackson, 16, of Gbaja Girls High School, Surulere, Lagos who said, “I can’t believe the testimonies of the holocaust, very sad experience. I will say ‘no to terrorism and genocide’ till I die;” and Mr. Tubosun Ogunyomi, 16, of Sunglee Formation Schools, Ajah Lagos, who added, “I will never be involved in anything that brings hatred or discrimination anywhere I find myself.”
The 2015 Holocaust Remembrance, organised by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in partnership with Ojodu Junior High School, Lagos Education District VI, kicked off Tuesday with a public awareness rally in Lagos involving students, media and non-governmental partners, as well as participatory briefing sessions.
Inspired by the theme “Liberty, Life and the Legacy of the Holocaust Survivors,” the 2015 Holocaust Remembrance coincides with the two milestone events: the 70th anniversary of the Second World War’s end and the founding of the United Nations. This prompted the UNIC Lagos rally audience, clad in holocaust branded blue T-shirts, to creatively form the figure, ‘70’ before hitting the streets with drums, trumpets and songs, calling public attention to the horror of the holocaust.
Yesterday marked the continuation of the Holocaust Remembrance, as UNIC Lagos joined the Department of Public Information, New York, in screening the documentary film, “Kinderblock 66: Return to Buchenwald” to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945).
The film showing and discussion in New York was held in the Dag Hammarjskjöld Library Auditorium and in Lagos, in the Library Auditorium of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Ikoyi.
The film highlights the lives of four men who were imprisoned as boys in the Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar, Germany and returned in April 2010 to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the camp’s liberation in 1945. The film tells the story of how the communist-led underground created a children’s block – block 66 – in the camp to help protect the Jewish teenage boys who were arriving in large numbers in 1944 near the end of the war. The film’s executive producer, Steven Moskoѵic, is the son of Alex Moskoѵic, one of the four Holocaust survivors featured in the film. The other three men are Naftali-Duro Furst, Pavel Kohn and Israel-Laszlo Lazlar.
In his message on the occasion, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, called out: “We must redouble our efforts to eradicate the deep roots of hatred and intolerance.” The message, which was delivered on his behalf by the National Information officer of UNIC Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun, added that people everywhere must unite to stop the cycles of discord and build a world of inclusion and mutual respect.
Welcoming the guests to the event, the Principal of Ojodu Junior Grammar School, Mrs. Adebola Kolawole. commended the UN for partnering with the Lagos State Ministry of Education. She pledged her continued support of programmes that would better the lives of her students.
At the event were President of Women Arise, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin; the President of United Nations of Youth (UNOY), Prince Goodluck Obi; Secretary General of the United Nations Association of Nigeria (UNAN), Owolabi Ganiyu; Executive Director of Educare Trust, Shade Bebatoum-Young; Executive Director of Child Health Advocacy Initiative (CHAI), Mrs. Alonge, among others.