Scores of students escorted by their teachers from schools affiliated to the National Progressive Schools Conference (NPSC) joined the UN Information Centre, the Alliance Française de Delhi and the Embassy of Israel on 27 January 2015 to memorialize the victims of the Holocaust during the World War II, which claimed 7 million lives, and pledged to remember the message of that catastrophic tragedy: “Never again”
The student participation was overwhelming and the Alliance Française’s auditorium was filled beyond its maximum capacity. The participating schools included Delhi Public School, Rohini; Ahlcon International School, Delhi Public School, Sushant Lok; Ramjas School, N.C. Jindal Public School, DLDAV Model School, Bal Bharti School, KIIT World School, SVISG, Tagore International School, CRPF School, Don Bosco School, G.D. Goenka School, Springdales School, and Laxman Public School.
The students observed a “Barbed Wire’ installation as they were escorted into the auditorium. The installation was part of a larger exhibit that walked the students through the United Nations’ Holocaust Outreach Programme that included panels of information and visuals including testimonies from Holocaust survivors and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Alliance Française’s Director, Mr. Jean-Philippe Bottin welcomed everyone to the commemoration. UNIC New Delhi Director, Mrs. Kiran Mehra-Kerpelman followed after, and read out the Secretary-General’s message which also particularly addressed the students, “Education is one of our best defenses against prejudices that can lead to extreme violence. We must instill in our youth a spirit that embraces pluralism and rejects all forms of discrimination or racism”. The students were also shown an Israeli movie, The Last Korczak Boy that chronicles the life of Jewish educator, Dr. Janus Korczak through the eyes of painter Yizhak Belfer, who was the last living child of Korczak’s orphanage.
The movie was followed by a question and answer session with Mr. Yahel Vilan, Deputy Chief of Mission, Israeli Embassy. At the end of the event, Mrs. Mehra-Kerpelman delivered end remarks leading the students to fully absorb the information on the holocaust they had received and encouraged them to leave messages on the barbed wire installation. They were given a candle that they could light at home with their family to mark solidarity.
Students pinned their messages on the barbed wire installation, even as UNIC Director continued her interaction with them. The installation conceptualized and created by UNIC transformed into a beacon of peace and hope as students wished for a harmonious world through it. These messages were to be read by dignitaries and other United Nations officers. The students went back with a message of peace and tolerance.
To read more about this, visit: http://www.un.org/en/holocaustremembrance