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IHRA Delegation Visits Finland over Holocaust Memorial Day

28.01.2015

An IHRA delegation including Advisor to IHRA Steven Katz and Executive Secretary Kathrin Meyer are participating in a programme on Holocaust education and remembrance organised by the Finnish National Board of Education in Helsinki, Finland from 25 to 28 January.

Photo:The Finnish Delegation to the IHRA at the Finnish National Board of Education, Helsinki, Finland

The visit is part of IHRA’s Multi-Year Work Plan project on Holocaust Memorial Days, which aims to foster Holocaust education, remembrance and research, promote the goals of the Stockholm declaration, and raise awareness about IHRA's work.

On 26 January the programme started with a round table meeting with the Finnish Delegation to IHRA at the Finnish National Board of Education. Jorma Kauppinen, Director, and Kristina Kaihari, Counsellor of Education gave an introduction on Finland’s educational system and its national curriculum. The program continued with a lunch meeting hosted by Kirsti Kauppi, Director General of the Political Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and a visit to the Memorial to the Deported Jewish Refugees in the Park of Observatory Hill of Helsinki. In the afternoon the IHRA delegation visited the Jewish School and Society of Helsinki.

On 27 January the IHRA delegation met with teachers and students of history and social studies at Kallio Upper Secondary School Helsinki and exchanged experiences on teacher training programs and special courses on the subject of the Holocaust that include a trip to the Auschwitz State Museum and Memorial.

Afterwards the IHRA delegation, accompanied by Ambassador for Human Rights Rauno Merisaari met the Foreign Minister of Finland, Erkki Tuomioja, at the House of Parliament to discuss the importance of Holocaust education and remembrance. The programme continued with a symposium on the “70th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Concentration Camp Auschwitz – Holocaust, Remembrance and Education” organized by the Finnish Holocaust Remembrance Association. Among others, speeches were held by Prof. Steven Katz, Advisor to IHRA; Dr. Oula Silvennoinen, Helsinki University and member of the Finnish Delegation to IHRA.

Finland’s main remembrance event on 27 January took place at the Helsinki Synagogue. Chairman of the Finnish Holocaust Remembrance Association, Mr. Matti Myllykoski, opened the programme. The keynote speech was held by the President of the Republic of Finland, Mr. Sauli Niinistö. Greetings were held by Mr. Yaron Nadbornik, Chairman of the Jewish Community of Finland; Mr. Dan Ashbel, the Ambassador of Israel to Finland; Mr. Janusz Niesyto, the Ambassador of Poland to Finland; and Ms. Dorothee Janetzke-Wenzel, the Ambassador of Germany to Finland. Prof. Steven Katz, Advisor to IHRA, and Dr. Kamila Dabrowska, Museum of the History of Polish Jews, held closing speeches.

The program concluded on 28 January with a meeting with the President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Mr. Ilkka Kanerva, and a few Members of Parliament.