27 January: International Holocaust Remembrance Day
See "Memento", a short animated film which was prepared by ENRS and House of the Wannsee Conference for this occasion.
On 27 January, on the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau German Nazi concentration camp, the International Holocaust Remembrance Day is commemorated. For this occasion, the European Network Remembrance and Solidarity and the House of the Wannsee Conference have prepared a short animated film entitled “Memento”, directed by the Hungarian author Zoltán Szilágyi Varga. The film is available on the organisers’ websites and it will also be shown across European TV channels.
The half-a-minute-long spot based on charcoal drawings recalls one of the most tragic events in human history. As its director Zoltán Szilágyi Varga says, when trying to grapple with the Holocaust “we stand in front of human nature’s distortion without any answer despite all the research we know, the number of victims counted, the exact description of the events.” The film evokes symbolism which is easily recognised by Europeans: cattle railway cars, railway tracks, paper snippets or abandoned flats, yet it shows them from a child’s perspective, thereby posing the question whether it is possible to comprehend that tragedy and stressing the need to uphold the memory of those days.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Day was designated as such by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005 in order to make future generations sensitive to the tragedy of the Holocaust and so prevent in that way any future acts of genocide. The Day is commemorated on 27 January, the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau German Nazi concentration camp, the site that witnessed the carnage of at least a million of Hungarian, Polish, French, Czech, Slovak and Greek Jews as well as those from other countries, and around a hundred twenty thousand other prisoners (Poles, Roma, Soviet captives and others). The European Network Remembrance and Solidarity wishes to be involved in activities commemorating the Day in public awareness.
- We are living in a period when the generation of witnesses to the Holocaust is slowly decreasing. It is of particular importance to pass the knowledge and memory of those events on to next generations, says Rafał Rogulski, director of the Institute of the European Network Remembrance and Solidarity. We hope that with its emotional message the film “Memento” will inspire our societies to reflect on history and its consequences.
The partners of the campaign include such institutions as: the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Site and Museum, the Berlin-based Foundation for the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the Warsaw-based POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, and the Federal Institute for Culture and History of the Germans in Eastern Europe.
“Memento” (2016, 36 s)
Directed by: Zoltán Szilágyi Varga
Produced by: European Network Remembrance and Solidarity, House of the Wannsee Conference
Executive producer: Rózus Film
Funded by: Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (Poland), Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media (Germany), Nord-Ost Institut
Partners: Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Site and Museum, Foundation for the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Federal Institute for Culture and History of the Germans in Eastern Europe