Russian Holocaust Essay Laureates and Survivors Testify at UNESCO: ”Stalin Wanted Me Red, Hitler Wanted Me Dead” (Samuel Pisar)

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Paris, 8 July 2010

The sixth annual presentation of Russian Holocaust Essay Laureates convened yesterday in Paris under the auspices of UNESCO.

Photo: (L-R Back Row) - Alexandre Kaplan, Dr.Shimon Samuels, Christopher Dickey, Samuel Pisah, Dr. Ilya Altman, Russian Ambassador Eleonora Mitrofanova, DDG Engida, Judith Pisah, Kristen Killion, U.S Ambassador David Killion, Richard Odier, Annette Blum, Dr. Graciela Samuels
L-R Front Row - Ms. Anna Kaplan, Sergei Ponomarev, Elizaveta Yakimova, Elena Testova, Alexeev Dmitry, Evgenia Mushtavinskaya

Co-organized by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre-Europe, Association Verbe et
Lumière-Vigilance and the Russian Holocaust Foundation, five students from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny-Novgorod – selected from over 1,000 submissions, presented their research findings.

Attended by the Ambassadors of the Russian Federation, the United States of America and Israel, the proceedings were opened by UNESCO Deputy Director-General, Getachew Engida.

Russian Ambassador and President of UNESCO Executive Board, Eleonora Mitrofanova, emphasized the pernicious effects of Holocaust denial and the need for universal acknowledgment of the UN’s Holocaust Commemoration Day on 27 January (the date that Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army in 1945).

Newsweek Bureau Chief, Christopher Dickey, drew the lessons for contemporary media from Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms” speech.

Auschwitz survivor and international lawyer, Samuel Pisar, in a keynote entitled “Remembrance with Hindsight and Foresight”, spoke as an orphaned child-survivor, calling himself “a young animal reacting instinctively to danger”, following his mother’s dictum: “do whatever to stay alive!” Noting his later role, during the Cold War, in commercial transactions and conflict – mitigation between East and West, Pisar compared Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany as “Stalin wanted Me Red, Hitler wanted Me Dead”, adding his debt to both the US Army and the Red Army for saving his life. UNESCO Education expert and Sorbonne President Georges Haddad, described his sector’s Holocaust pedagogy and his family's World War II experience in Tunisia.

Photo: (L - R) Dr.Ilya Altman, Samuel Pisah, Russian Ambassador Eleonora Mitrofanova, DDG. Engida

Dr. Ilya Altman, co-Chair of the Russian Holocaust Foundation in Moscow
summarized its activities in the Former Soviet Union and the selection process of the Essay laureates.

Board members of Verbe et Lumière-Vigilance were led by Lithuanian–born
child survivor, Alexandre Kaplan, and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre France President, Richard Odier. The Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, thanked UNESCO and, especially, special Adviser Dr. Graciela Vaserman Samuels, for conceiving the event. He also acknowledged that “as a British Jew, born just after World War II, his family was saved by 30 miles of Channel water from the Holocaust raging on the continent.”

“Moreover,” he stressed, “Hitler’s invasion of the UK was forestalled by the Eastern Front. Thus, my life was spared by the Red Army and over 25 million Soviet casualties.”

For further information contact Dr. Shimon Samuels on 0033(0)609770158