International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust for Southeast Asia

Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Poland

To mark the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, emphasise its significance as universal heritage and oppose its distortion, the NEVER AGAIN Association has organised a special online session on the 27th January, 4:00-5:30 p.m. ICT (Bangkok)/8:00-9:30 p.m. AEDT (Sydney)/10:00-11:30 a.m. CET (Warsaw).

Jews and Roma were mainly targeted for genocide by Nazi Germany during the Second World War, but its significance is universal. Today, when very few Holocaust survivors are left, we need to preserve this memory, and not let it be trivialised, banalised, or even worse, distorted and denied. How can we use and apply the universal lessons of the Holocaust which happened in Europe in a non-European context, where the experiences of the Second World War were different, for example in Southeast Asia?

There is often a lack of knowledge of Holocaust history, but there are local histories of conflicts and instances of genocide, and various forms of genocide distortion exist. The online round table will feature Jeremy Jones, the Director of Community and of International Affairs of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (Australia); Venerable Lablu Barua, Wat Phrmarangsi Buddhist Monastery in Bangkok (Thailand); Sayana Ser, the translator of “The Diary of Anne Frank” in Khmer language (Cambodia); Nickey Diamond, a human rights specialist and scholar (Myanmar); and Prof. Rafal Pankowski of the NEVER AGAIN Association (Poland). It will be moderated by Natalia Sineaeva, a Holocaust scholar and Rotary Peace Fellow alumna.

The participants will discuss the legacy of the Holocaust, challenges for its commemoration, the meaning and the need for its commemoration in the region of Southeast Asia.

The online round table will be the first in the series of further events to be organised for the project “Identifying and Countering Holocaust Distortion. Lessons for Southeast Asia.” The project deals with various forms of Holocaust distortion and denial spread in the region of Southeast Asia, e.g., the usage of Nazi imagery, normalisation of the image of Hitler and Nazi Germany in popular culture; conspiracy theories scapegoating minorities and blaming the victims (including the Jews) for past crimes and historical conflicts; the dangerous globalisation of genocide denial, including the rise of ‘multi-deniers’ who distort both the Nazi crimes and other cases of genocide, such as the crimes of the Khmer Rouge or anti-Rohingya violence. Importantly, the project draws on the regional experiences of the Second World War and further instances of genocide in Cambodia, Myanmar, and Thailand to inspire critical memory discourses and develop capacities to counter Holocaust and genocide distortion in the region. It has been supported by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

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