UNESCO: Film on the Holocaust to Be Screened in 45 Countries

Paris, Jan 28 (Prensa Latina) Thanks to UNESCO and other institutions initiative, the documentary ''Who will write our history'' will be screened simultaneously in 45 countries to commemorate the International Day in Memory of the Holocaust Victims.

A statement details this film will be shown in some 300 cinemas, museums, UNESCO offices and UN information centres.

It is a joint project with Washington Holocaust Memorial, LA's Museum of Tolerance and Warsaw's Jewish Historical Institute.

The material, directed by U.S. filmmaker Roberta Grossman and produced by Nancy Spielberg, is the first feature film about the underground group Oneg Shabbat, formed in November 1940 in the Warsaw ghetto under the direction of historian Emanuel Ringelblum.

The group collected numerous archives and testimonies documenting life in the ghetto and the destruction of Polish Jews from 1940 to 1943, which led to the creation of the 'Ringelblum Archives', included in UNESCO's Memory of the World Register in 1999.

At UNESCO's Paris headquarters, the film screening will be preceded by a ceremony to be opened by the organization's Director General, Audrey Azoulay, and the President of the Shoah Memorial in France, Eric de Rothschild.

The film will be followed by a panel with Roberta Grossman, Nancy Spielberg and Professor Samuel Kassow, an American historian.

January 27 commemorates the anniversary of the liberation of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau by Soviet troops in 1945, UNESCO said.

In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly officially proclaimed the date as the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the Holocaust victims.

  • Published in Culture

After nuclear holocaust, we’ll go to heaven as martyrs; attackers will die as sinners – Putin

If any nation decides to attack Russia with nuclear weapons, it may end life on Earth; but unlike the aggressors, the Russians are sure to go to heaven, President Vladimir Putin has said.

“Any aggressor should know that retribution will be inevitable and he will be destroyed. And since we will be the victims of his aggression, we will be going to heaven as martyrs. They will simply drop dead, won’t even have time to repent,” Putin said during a session of the Valdai Club in Sochi.

He added that Russia’s nuclear forces are not tailored for a pre-emptive strike, and exist as a second-strike capability meant to deter an attack by a foreign nation.

The Russian nuclear doctrine allows for the use of this weapon in a conventional conflict, but only if Russia’s existence is at stake. This presumably gives the Russian military a loophole to use tactical nuclear weapons in the case of a large-scale invasion. The self-imposed restrictions are less harsh than a complete ‘no-first-use’ pledge, which was dropped by Moscow in 1993.

The US’ latest nuclear posture review says that Washington may use nuclear weapons in response to a non-nuclear attack on itself or its allies. It remains vague about the exact circumstances that may trigger such an action. This gave rise to speculation that even a cyberattack may permit a nuclear response. Meanwhile, a call for the creation of small-yield submarine-launched missiles and nuclear-capable sea-launched cruise missiles have only added to concerns that the US is stocking up for some kind of large-scale conflict.

  • Published in World

World's Oldest Man Turns 113, Readies For Bar Mitzvah

Jerusalem: The world's oldest man turned 113 on Thursday and the Holocaust survivor living in Israel readied for the Bar Mitzvah he was denied a century ago, his family said.

Yisrael Kristal, an observant Jew from Zarnow in what is now Poland and currently living in the port city of Haifa, was born on September 15, 1903, three months before the Wright brothers' first successful powered airplane flight.

Guinness World Records in March recognised him as the world's oldest man.

While he turned 113 on Thursday under the Gregorian calendar, his family will celebrate the birthday at the end of September according to the Hebrew calendar, his daughter Shula Koperstoch told AFP.

The festivities will include a Bar Mitzvah that will come 100 years late.

The Bar Mitzvah is one of the most important ceremonies in the life of a Jew.

Usually marked at 13 for boys and 12 or 13 for girls -- a Bat Mitzvah in that case -- it marks the transition into someone responsible for their actions.

Kristal was unable to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah in 1916 because his mother had died three months earlier and his father was a soldier in the Russian army at the time of World War I.

"My father is religious and has prayed every morning for 100 years, but he has never had his Bar Mitzvah," his daughter said.

Around 100 family members will attend, with the date and location being kept secret to avoid Kristal having to contend with a crush of journalists, she said.

Asked about his health, Koperstoch said only: "He is ageing."

After World War I, Kristal moved to Lodz where he worked in the family confectionary factory, married and had two children.

But his life was disrupted when the Jewish quarter of the city became a ghetto under Nazi occupation during World War II and Kristal was sent to the infamous Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Around 1.1 million people, most of them European Jews, perished in the camp between 1940 and 1945 before it was liberated by Soviet forces.

His wife and two children died but Kristal survived, weighing just 37 kilos (81 pounds) at the end of the war.

He then moved to Israel, where he has lived for over six decades. He re-married, had a son and opened a sweet shop.

He is four years younger than the world's oldest woman, Emma Morano, an Italian who turns 117 in November -- meaning she was born in the 19th century.

The previous oldest man, Yasutaro Koide of Japan, died in January at the age of 112.

Jeanne Louise Calment, who died in 1997, was the oldest verified person ever -- passing away in France aged 122 years and 164 days.

  • Published in World
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