Magazine article UN Chronicle

Auschwitz Exhibit Underscores United Nations Commitment to Human Rights

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Auschwitz Exhibit Underscores United Nations Commitment to Human Rights

Article excerpt

Auschwitz exhibit underscores United Nations commitment to human rights

"Let the memory of the victims of genocide at Auschwitz lead to an unwavering determination to protect the rights of every human being everywhere", said Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar on 10 December 1985, Human Rights Day, in opening a photo exhibit entitled "Auschwitz: A Crime against Mankind".

The exposition, produced by the International Auschwitz Committee in association with the Auschwitz State Museum in Poland, will be on display at Headquarters before touring a number of United States cities under the sponsorship of the United Nations Centre for Human Rights.

Among the photographs are those depicting the physical plant of Auschwitz, including the crematoria; inmates en route to the gas chambers; and emaciated survivors at the time of liberation. Also on exhibit are personal effects--eyeglasses, shoes, suitcases, hairbrushes, spoons, rosaries--found after the camps were liberated.

"The commitment of the United Nations to promoting human rights derived its special impetus from the atrocities committed before and during the Second World War", the Secretary-General affirmed. "From [the victims'] death and their suffering, let a world order emerge which will be faithful to the precepts of the Universal Declaration [of Human Rights], a world which will never again allow crimes against humanity such as those committed at Auschwitz."

The camp has been designated a "World Heritage" site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

In a statement at the ceremony, Maurice Goldstein, President of the International Auschwitz Committee; traced the history of the Nazi death camps, which claimed the lives of an estimated four million people, mostly Jews, from 20 countries. The Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, which was opened on 14 June 1940, by 1942 had become the largest extermination camp of European Jews, he said. …

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