Holocaust Remembrance Day Observed in Astana

ASTANA – An evening event to honour the victims of the Holocaust was hosted in Astana on Jan. 27 at the National University of Arts.

Photo by UNDP Kazakhstan

Photo by UNDP Kazakhstan

The event was attended by representatives of 23 Western and former Soviet embassies and commemorated the 6 million Jews exterminated by the Nazis as well as the other victims of the Nazi regime. Kazakhstan officials, including Deputy Chairman of the Senate Askar Beisenbayev and Chairman of the Committee for Religious Affairs of the Ministry of Culture and Sport Galym Shoikin attended.

“The people that remember their own history will know how to step forward towards the future while hoping that the mistakes of the past never recur,” the Ambassador of Israel to Kazakhstan Eli Tasman said during the event.

Tasman learned about the tragedy as a child from his parents. The Nazis shot seven of his mother’s siblings. They also killed her father, who was covering his daughter from bullets as he fell. She survived and lived in the Jewish ghetto, then joined the resistance and helped dozens of people escape from the Minsk Ghetto.

Tasman’s father was in the Red Army and was in the unit that liberated the Majdanek Concentration Camp. Stories of the war echoed not only in the life of the Israeli diplomat, but also in the lives of many other people present. Poems, musical performances and prayers in memory of Holocaust victims resonated across the organ hall stage. Students from the Sixth Gymnasium and Haileybury Astana School took an active part in the programme. A short film on the tragic life of Anne Frank was also shown during the event.

“Each crisis highlights failures in the UN system. To the credit of the community of nations, we are learning lessons and making institutional changes. The most important changes will increase our vigilance towards unstable situations, such situations will not be allowed to worsen and the UN will be able to act decisively to stop mass atrocities whenever and wherever they occur. So this evening, ladies and gentleman, let us never forget why all of this matters,” said UN Resident Coordinator Stephen Tull.

The word holocaust is Greek for “burnt offering.” It was a Nazi idea on clearing Europe of “superfluous men” and trying to establish a “new order.” Holocaust is often associated with the Jewish people because they were the most hunted by the Nazis. According to official data, from 1933 to 1945, the Nazis killed about 6 million Jews.

The evening was organised by twenty-four diplomatic missions, KazNUA, ALZHIR museum and memorial complex, the Sixth Gymnasium and QSI Astana International School.

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