Over six hundred and fifty students from fifteen secondary schools in Lagos Nigeria have 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 years) 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 years) 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, organized by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in partnership with Ojodu Junior Grammar School, Lagos Education District VI, kicked off on Tuesday, 27 January 2015 with a public awareness rally in Lagos involving students, media and NGO 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 formed the figure, ‘70’ before hitting the street with drums and trumpets and songs calling public attention to the horror of the holocaust.
Wednesday, 28 January 2015 marks 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 at Lagos Nigeria, 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 return in April 2010 to commemorate the sixty-fifth 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 the ‘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 United Nations for partnering with Education District VI of the Lagos State Ministry of Education. She pledged her continued support of programmes that would better the life 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; the Secretary General of the United Nations Association of Nigeria (UNAN), Engineer Owolabi Ganiyu; Executive Director of Educare Trust, Ms Shade Bebatoum-Young; Executive Director of Child Health Advocacy Initiative (CHAI), Mrs Alonge, Director, Femi Arts Warehouse, Mr Femi Coker, among others.