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UNESCO Honours Russian Holocaust Essay Laureates
Paris, 8 July 2009
UNESCO, together with the French educational foundation Verbe et Lumière – Vigilance (VetL) and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre-Europe (SWC-E), co-sponsored the Fifth Annual Russian University Holocaust Essay Competition at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.
The winners are, each year, invited to Paris to present their papers.
This year, over 700 submissions arrived from all over the former Soviet Union, to be judged by the competition coordinator, the Russian Holocaust Centre (RHC) in Moscow.
The session was co-chaired by RHC Director, Dr Ilya Altman, and, on behalf of SWC-E and VetL, Dr Shimon Samuels.
UNESCO Director-General, Koïchiro Matsuura, spoke of the 2007 Resolution
61 as the basis for the Organization's global promotion of Holocaust education. He committed UNESCO's continued support under future administrations.
War criminal investigator, Beate Klarsfeld, responded with a description of her German childhood visit to 1943 Nazi-occupied Poland, as formative in her career, adding the importance of transmission of such memories with the endorsement of UNESCO.
The student laureates presented abstracts of their work:
-Yekaterina Zamarina, a blind student at Sillamae University, Estonia, Institute of Economics and Management, on "The History of the Holocaust in Estonia";
- Anna Mitrushina, of St. Petersburg Herzen University, Faculty of Social Sciences, on "Teaching the Holocaust in Russian High Schools"
- Alena Samsonova, of Gubkin University of Oil and Gas, Faculty of Engineering Mechanics, on "Holocaust Denial in Russia"
- Bella Khayzens, of Nizhny Novgorod Linguistic University, on "Holocaust Semiotics in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict"
Tania Klarsfeld, Eliane Corrin and Alexander Kaplan added their own second-generation testimonies, followed by Kovno Ghetto survivor, Simon Kaplan.
UNESCO Deputy Assistant Director-General for Education, Dr Quian Tang, proposed an international version of the Russian contest through UNESCO's 8,000 worldwide Associated Schools, underscoring the continued engagement of his sector's Holocaust Education unit.
For further information, please contact Shimon Samuels at +33.609.77.01.58.