Pretoria, 29 January 2014 – To mark the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of Victims of the Holocaust 2014, UNIC Pretoria co-organised a commemorative event in Johannesburg on 29 January as well as an educational session with students in Orange Farm on 30 January 2014.
UNIC together with the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre and the Ditsong National Museum of Military History hosted a commemorative event for over 180 people, including survivors of the Holocaust and their families and members of the diplomatic community, in Johannesburg at the Museum on 29 January 2014. The keynote speaker Dr. Robert Rozett, Director of the Yad Vashem Libraries, spoke on the destruction of the Hungarian Jewry.
To further diversify its target audience, UNIC Pretoria, in collaboration with the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre and the NGO Education Africa organised an educational session on the Holocaust for over 200 grade nine high-school learners from seven schools at the Tsepana Primary School in the under-resourced community of Orange Farm, south of Johannesburg on 30 January 2014. The UNIC Director delivered a message on the importance of the day followed by the video message of the UN Secretary-General.
This paved the way to an interactive session with the students where the Holocaust was further discussed and comparisons between apartheid, xenophobia and discrimination were made. During the session one learner commented, “In South Africa we experienced apartheid, and black people basically had no rights. Prior to this lesson I didn’t know that white people discriminated against, and even killed other white people just because they were Jewish.” The history of World War II and the Holocaust is included in the South African social science school curriculum in grade nine.