Professor Mordecai Paldiel Delivers Keynote Address at UN Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony

Dr. Mordecai Paldiel, adjunct instructor of Jewish history at Yeshiva University and former head of the Righteous Among the Nations Department at Yad Vashem, delivered a moving keynote address to the United Nations General Assembly at a ceremony to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 25.

Hundreds of Jewish community representatives, international envoys and survivors attended the event, which began with a moment of silence for Shoah victims. In his speech, Paldiel highlighted the importance of identifying and publicly recognizing the ordinary, unsung heroes of the Holocaust who risked their lives to protect persecuted Jews.

“We have an obligation to pass on to future generations not merely the legacy of the horrors of the Holocaust and their perpetrators, but also the goodness of the righteous among the nations and the lesson that the individual person can arouse within himself the spark of goodness that is an innate part of his humanity,” said Paldiel. “Such goodness may start with one small act, then, as shown by many rescuers, it can expand and grow to helping more than one person and to greater lengths of time, and one need not be a saint with a halo over one’s head to do such a saintly deed.”

International Holocaust Remembrance Day has been held on January 27 each year since 2006, marking the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, but it was moved up two days this year so it could be observed on Friday.