11 April 2018
Michel Kichka, award-winning cartoonist and illustrator whose work can be seen in Le Monde and other major media outlets, presented his graphic novel Second Generation-The Things I Didn’t Tell My Father at a student event held by the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on 11 April 2019 at New York Headquarters. The event was held on the occasion of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel.
Mr. Kichka explained the creative process that led him to write and draw the book. He also shared his personal story as the son of Holocaust survivor Henri Kichka, who was imprisoned by the Nazis at age 14 and spent more than three years in nine concentration camps during the Second World War. Mr. Kichka’s graphic novel addresses the impact that the wartime trauma suffered by his father had on him and his siblings. Writing this book, he said, was his most important creation, because it allowed him to express his feelings in an artistic, intelligent and communicative way. Earlier in his career, Mr. Kichka had been an illustrator of children’s books and comics. Humour he said, was crucial to him and to his life. Later he became a political commentator and cartoonist, which allowed him to expose himself. He warned students about the dangerous influence of “fake news” and the importance of learning from this history. “You cannot build the future if you ignore the past”, he said. Mr. Kichka is a contributor to the Cartooning for Peace initiative, which enables him as a global citizen to do his part in the fight for social justice. He is also a Professor at the Bezalel Academy of Arts & Design in Jerusalem.
Participants in the event had the opportunity to catch a glimpse of a new documentary film titled Kichka: Life is a cartoon, which focuses on the relationship between the son and his father. The film was directed by Delfina Jalowik and produced by Jürgen Kaumkötter. Next year, an animated film based on his novel and titled Second Generation: My father’s secrets, will be produced by Véra Belmont.
The event was hosted by Ms. Alison Smale, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Global Communication, who was joined by H.E. Ms. Noa Furman, Deputy Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations. Ms. Kimberly Mann, Chief, Education Outreach Section, served as the event moderator. More than 250 high-school students and educators had the opportunity to ask Mr. Kichka questions about growing up with a parent who was a Holocaust survivor. Through his humour and wit, the students understood more about the human dimension of the Holocaust and the impact that it had on Jewish families. The event webcast can be viewed here. For more information about the Holocaust Programme’s activities please visit its website.
The United Nations is a permanent international partner to the IHRA.