Holocaust Commemoration in Myanmar
Opening Remarks by.H.E. Deputy Minister for Education
Recognizing the need to raise awareness and to promote education about the Holocaust, the Ministry of Education of the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in partnership with Embassy of Israel and Germany and the United Nations in Myanmar, hosted “The International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust” at the Diamond Jubilee Hall in Yangon University on Friday, 27th January, 2012. The program was supported by the Yad Vashem (the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, Jerusalem), the French Institute, the British Council and the American Center in Yangon.
The event was opened by Myanmar Deputy Union Minister for Education, H.E U Ba Shwe, opening remarks delivered by ambassador of Israel, H.E. Mr. Yaron Mayer and Mr. Oliver Bientzle, deputy head of mission from German Embassy. The program included lectures by renowned historian Prof. Dan Michman, titled: Head of the International Institute for Holocaust Research, Incumbent, John Najmann Chair of Holocaust Studies, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, and Chair of the Arnold and Leona Finkler Institute of Holocuast Research at Bar-Ilan University who talked on “Why is the Holocaust considered to be such a Significant Historical Event” and Prof. U Tun Aung Chain, Member of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission talked on “Holocaust from the Myanmar Point of View.”
The event was concluded by lighting of candles and commemoration ceremony. The six Memorial Candles were lit by Deputy Union Minister for Education of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, H.E. U Ba Shwe, UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Ashok Nigam, Prof. Dan Michman, Prof. U Tun Aung Chain, Mrs. Avigail Oz, Cultural Attaché from the Israeli Embassy and Mrs. Katrine Fruehinsfeld, Cultural Attaché from the German Embassy. The event followed by reciting Yizcor by Israeli ambassador, H.E. Mr. Yaron Mayer and delivering the message from the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon by the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr. Ashok Nigam. The event was complemented by a photo exhibition titled “To Bear Witness” from the Yad Vashem Archives and a poster exhibition titled “The Holocaust: Keeping the Memory Alive” from the International Poster Competition 2012. Also, the United Nations screened a short animated film, “Last Flight of Petr Ginz”.
Later in the day, a seminar on “Holocaust Education” held at Yangon University together with Prof. Michman.
It is estimated that about 1,000 people attended the event, including Diplomats and students, tutors, professors, rectors from different universities and also many reporters from different media attended. This provided many teens and young adults in Myanmar with rare first hand insight into the Holocaust.