International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, 2007

Fri, 01/26/2007 - 12:00am

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA–January 26, 2007–Tomorrow, January 27, is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education will participate in activities around the world to mark the observance.

United Nations special screening of Institute films

On Monday, January 29, the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) will hold a special observance for the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. The observance, which will be webcast live at, is organized by DPI's "Holocaust and the United Nations" outreach program, established to promote Holocaust remembrance and education to help prevent future acts of genocide.

Among the events planned around the Day of Commemoration is a special screening for the United Nations community of two of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute's documentaries, Volevo solo vivere (I Only Wanted to Live), and Nazvy svoie im'ia (Spell Your Name).

I Only Wanted to Live, which screens on January 30, is directed by Mimmo Calopresti. The film chronicles the Holocaust as experienced in Italy, from the racial laws Mussolini enacted in 1938 through the German invasion in 1943, and the liberation of Auschwitz in 1945. The experiences are made personal through the use of testimony from the Institute's archive. Nine Italian citizens—all survivors of Auschwitz—share their stories, which are woven among personal and historical photographs, and additional archival footage in the 75-minute narrative.

Spell Your Name, directed by Sergey Bukovsky, will be screened the following day, February 1. The feature-length documentary about the Holocaust in Ukraine is crafted using Ukrainian and Russian language testimonies from the Institute's archive, and new footage shot on location. In it, Bukovsky takes the viewer on a journey of discovery as he and several Ukrainian students absorb the testimony of local people who escaped brutal execution, and those who rescued friends and neighbors during the Holocaust. More information about the film is available at

United Nations partners with Institute, Yad Vashem, and Mémorial de la Shoah to launch new website

On January 29, the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI), in partnership with the USC Shoah Foundation Institute, Yad Vashem, and the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris, will launch Electronic Notes for Speakers, an online web resource for United Nations Member States, to assist them in developing educational programs on the lessons of the Holocaust. The Mémorial de la Shoah developed the French version of Electronic Notes.

Electronic Notes for Speakers will serve educators and UN information centers staff across the globe, enabling users to enhance their understanding of and to conduct effective briefings on the Holocaust. The site contains detailed information organized under headings including "Life Before the War," "Life in the Ghettos," "Life in the Camps," and "Hiding and Rescue," each offering different but connected portraits of the Holocaust. Each segment contains eyewitness testimonies from the USC Shoah Foundation Institute's archive, augmented with additional primary source materials from Yad Vashem's archives, including original artifacts and photographs, authentic diary and letter extracts, and briefing notes.

The pages compiled by the Mémorial de la Shoah bring together a wide range of resources in French on the history of the Jews of Europe and, more specially, the Jews of France in the 20th Century. Besides a general overview of the Holocaust, they deal with various subjects such as the "Final Solution" or "The Righteous Among the Nations" in France. They include photographs, video testimonies, historical maps, and detailed presentations.

"The Electronic Notes for Speakers website is an excellent pedagogical tool not only for use by United Nations Member States, for whom it has been established, but also by interested partners around the world, including students, teachers, and United Nations Information Centres staff, to develop presentations on the Holocaust," said Mr. Shashi Tharoor, United Nations Under Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information. "The breadth of material on this website, including the moving personal testimonies of survivors, serves as a vivid reminder and will make the lessons of the Holocaust so much more than an intellectual exercise."

"We are pleased to support the efforts of the United Nations Department of Public Information as they launch this valuable resource," said Douglas Greenberg, University of Southern California History Professor and Institute Executive Director. "The Electronic Notes for Speakers website will provide Member States and United Nations' partners information from which they can create powerful educational materials about the Holocaust and its relevance today. Together with Yad Vashem's interactive maps, photographs, and detailed histories, the survivor and witness testimonies from the Institute's archive available on this new website are powerful tools in teaching students about the dangers of prejudice and racism."

Volevo solo vivere to be nationally broadcast in Italy, screened in France

On Saturday, January 27, the Institute's film, Volevo solo vivere (I Only Wanted to Live), will be nationally broadcast in Italy on RAI Cinema's RAI UNO television station.  The film will also be screened in schools throughout Italy in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

On Sunday, January 28, the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris, France, will host a screening of Volevo solo vivere. Volevo solo vivere was released in January 2006, premiering in Rome. Following the premiere, the film was shown in theaters throughout Italy by 01 Distribution, and screened at film festivals around the world.  In October, Volevo solo vivere was released on DVD in Italy.