Calendar of Events 2009

July 12

  • The Screening of ”Shoah” in MOMA at 12:30 pm. ”The NYFCC named Claude Lanzmann’s magisterial nine-and-a-half-hour account of the extermination of six million Jews the best documentary of 1985. Shoah is an historic documentary as well as a great, unique film and, in addressing the issue of representation, a rigorous work of film-philosophy. Refusing to ”reconstruct” the past, Lanzmann compels viewers to imagine the unimaginable. For all its devotion to detail, Shoah is a film that ultimately unfolds in the mind’s eye” (J. Hoberman, The Village Voice). NYFCC Best Nonfiction Film, 1985. 564 min.

July 9

  • 124th Anniversary of Sousa Mendes’ Birth. Sousa Mendes served as Consul of Portugal to Bordeaux, France in the spring of 1940. He disobeyed the orders of Prime Minister Salazar of Portugal, and with the help of Rabbi Chaim Kruger, issued false transit visas that allowed at least 30.000 refugees to escape persecution in France. Sousa Mendes was determined to follow what he called a ”divine power” to assist all those in need, regardless of the personal sacrifices he would make. In 1941, Prime Minister Salazar, who maintained Portugal’s neutrality in the war, but was a Nazi supporter in the fight against Communism, gained knowledge of Mendes’ actions. Sousa Mendes was stripped of his title, and the utterance of his name forbidden. He died in disgrace in April 1954, and was not remembered properly until 1987 when Portugal awarded him the Order of Liberty, and officially dismissed all charges in 1988.

July 4

  • 24th Anniversary of death of ”Mexican Schindler”. Gilberto Bosques Saldívar (b. Chiautla, Puebla, 20 July 1892 – 4 July 1995) was a Mexican career diplomat. As a consul in Nazi-occupied France, Bosques took initiative to rescue tens of thousands of Jews and Spanish Republican exiles from being deported to Nazi Germany or Spain, but his heroism remained unknown to the world at large for some sixty years, until several years after his death at the age of 102. 1944, he wrote, ”I implemented my country’s policy, a policy of help, of material and moral support to the heroic defenders of the Spanish Republic, to the relentless brave people who fought against Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Petain and Laval.” Saldívar has been called the ”Mexican Schindler” in allusion to Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist whose rescue of several hundred Jews during World War II.

June 11

  • Angel Sanz Briz’s Died 29 Years Ago. Ángel Sanz Briz (Zaragoza, September 28, 1910 – June 11, 1980) was a Spanish diplomat during the World War II who helped save many Hungarian Jews from Nazi persecution. After studying law, he was sent to Budapest in 1942, where he is credited with saving the lives of 5,200 Jews by using his influence, and the facilities of the Spanish embassy. In 1944, as the Red Army approached Budapest, he was ordered to leave for Switzerland while Giorgio Perlasca, an Italian veteran of the Spanish Civil War, continued his labor with the fake documents. After these events Mr Sanz Briz continued his diplomatic career. In 1991 he was recognized by the Yad Vashem as the Righteous Among the Nations. He died on Jun 11, 1980.

June 3

  • Anniversary of Angelo Roncalli’s Passing. Roncalli – who would become Pope John XXIII – played a pivotal role in saving the lives of thousands of Jews while serving as the papal representative to Turkey during World War II. Roncalli first heard about the plight of Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe when he met Jewish refugees fleeing Poland in September 1940, and helped them reach Palestine, and later a British colony. As the persecution increased, Roncalli accelerated his activities. With the help of Bulgaria’s King Boris, Roncalli used the Red Cross to save thousands of Slovakian Jews who had been deported to Bulgaria prior to extermination. He used diplomatic couriers, papal representatives and the Sisters of Our Lady of Zion to transport and issue baptismal certificates, immigration certificates and visas, many of them forged, to Hungarian Jews. He died on June 3, 1963.

June 1

  • Souza Dantas was named ”Righteous Among the Nations”. Luis Martins de Souza Dantas was in charge of the Brazilian diplomatic mission in France during the Holocaust. Moved for what he later called ”a Christian feeling of mercy,” he granted diplomatic visas to enter Brazil to hundreds of people who, from the point of view of the Brazilian immigration policy, were considered undesirable. They were Jews, communists, and homosexuals, who were running away from the horror of Nazism. With his actions, Souza Dantas saved around 800 people from Nazi extermination. He was proclaimed Righteous Among The Nations, by the Israeli Supreme Court on June 1, 2003.

May 29th

  • Judge Baltasar Garzon presents the Raoul Wallenberg Award. The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation bestowed the Raoul Wallenberg Award to Spanish journalist Eduardo Martín de Pozuelo for his praiseworthy journalistic career and his exceptional articles in the series ”The Holocaust Revelations” published in the newspaper ”La Vanguardia.” The ceremony was organized with the collaboration of Casa-Sefarad Israel and was held at the Headquarters of the European Commission in Madrid. The Raoul Wallenberg Award has been established with the aim of recognizing those individuals who excel in their exemplary conduct, solidarity spirit, and outstanding performance in their respective occupations, as well as continuous and careful support of NGO’s.

April 26

  • Wallenberg, a musical drama. Special concert performance of Broadway-bound musical ”Wallenberg” . Jewish Community Center of Harrison. 130 Union Avenue, Harrison, New York. For more information and tickets click here.

April 21

  • Saviors on the ScreenIRWF annual Yom HaShoah film festival dedicated to rescuers, co-organized with the JCC in Manhattan and Simon Wiesenthal Center
    • 6.30 PM – Pigeon: Avoda Arts Educators’ Event. Directed by Anthony Green (11 min, USA, 2005). Set in Remies, France, in 1941, and based on a true story, Pigeon recounts a rare and startling act of resistance. This award-winning short film will be presented by Avoda Arts as part of their Reel Learning series, with a special presentation of their educational resources that come with this exceptional film.
    • 7.30 PM – Just an Ordinary Jew: An Oxymoron in Contemporary Germany. Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel (88 min, Germany, 2005). In a dazzling tour de force, Ben Becker, a German film and theatre actor, portrays Emanuel Goldfarb, a journalist deeply conflicted over whether to accept an invitation to speak to students about being a Jew in contemporary society. This extraordinary monologue, directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel (The Downfall) and based on a book by Swiss author Charles Lewinsky, explores the complexity of life as a Jew in post-war Germany. A post-screening conversation will follow led by scholar Jeffrey Peck, dean of The Weissman School of Arts and Sciences at Baruch College and author of Being Jewish in the New Germany (Rutgers University Press, 2006). Co-sponsored by the Consulate General of Germany in New York. For tickets click here.

All screenings will take place at JCC Manhattan: 334 Amsterdam Ave. at 76th St.

April 20

  • Saviors on the ScreenIRWF annual Yom HaShoah film festival dedicated to rescuers, co-organized with the JCC in Manhattan and Simon Wiesenthal Center
    • 7.30 PM – Blessed is the Match. Directed by Roberta Grossman (90 min, USA, 2008). Narrated by three-time Academy Award nominee Joan Allen, Blessed Is the Match is the first documentary feature about Hannah Senesh, the World War II-era poet and diarist who became a paratrooper, resistance fighter and modern-day Joan of Arc. This powerful story unfolds through the writings and photographs of Hannah and Catherine Senesh. For tickets click here.

April 19

  • Tribute to Raoul Wallenberg. Every year since 1984, Muhlenberg College and the Institute for Jewish-Christian Understanding (IJCU) pay tribute to Raoul Wallenberg. The event honors one or more local individuals who are recognized for their courageous moral actions on behalf others, in spirit of Raoul Wallenberg’s own deeds. For more information click here.

April 3

  • Aristides de Sousa Mendes died in 1954. As the Consul of Portugal to Bordeaux, France, Sousa Mendes allowed the rescue of 30,000 people by providing them with visas. The Consul created a ”line of assembly” with his sons, his secretary and Rabbi Chaim Kruger. The free visa marathon lasted three days and included the Austrian Imperial family, the Habsburg. Sousa Mendes traveled together with the terrified crowd and while Salazar was sending officials to stop him, the Consul continued stamping his name in Biarritz and Hendaye, already on the border and even on the bridge. Once caught, Sousa Mendes was removed form office and his name prohibited for decades. Fore more information on Sousa Mendes and the events that IRWF organized in his tribute click here.

March 30

  • Carl Lutz was born in 1895. As chief of the Swiss Legation’s Department of Foreign Interests in Budapest and as an engaged Christian, Carl Lutz felt he had to protect people persecuted by the Nazis. When deportations to Auschwitz began, Lutz decided to place the staff of the Jewish council for Palestine under his diplomatic protection. With the aid of volunteers, Lutz issued tens of thousands of ”protective letters” and placed part of the Jews protected by Switzerland – about 30,000 people – in 76 protected houses. Carl Lutz helped 62,000 Jews to survive. Fore more information click here.

March 19

  • 63rd Anniversary of German Occupation in Hungary. On March 19th, 1944, German forces occupied Hungary. As a result, Hungarian Jews were ordered to concentrate in ghettos. Over 500,000 Jews died under German occupation.


  • Presentation of the book ”Heroes”. A celebration of 31 stories about men and women who risked crossing religious boundaries to help heal the world.

JANUARY 29 (the UN program)

  • 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. DPI-NGO briefing on the experience of Jews in Greece during the Holocaust.
  • 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Film screening ”Forgiving Doctor Mengele”, with statement by Ms. Eva Kor, who makes an inspirational visit to Germany, Israel and Auschwitz to come to terms with her experience.

JANUARY 28 (the UN program)

  • 1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Holocaust Survivors’ Memoirs Project book signing. The project is an initiative of Nobel Prize laureate and the IRWF Honorary Member Elie Wiesel, and Menachem Rosensaft, Chairman of the Project’s Editorial Board who is also the Founding Chairman of the International Network of Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors


  • International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The United Nations General Assembly designated January 27 as an annual international day of commemoration to honor the victims of the Nazi era. This date marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. The U.N. resolution rejects denial of the Holocaust, and condemns discrimination and violence based on religion or ethnicity. For more information visit Here.
  • Annual observance of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The United Nations General Assembly; The UN will commemorate the International Holocaust Remembrance day with the series of events. This year the theme of the memorial ceremony will be ”An Authentic Basis for Hope: Holocaust Remembrance and Education”
  • 1.15pm – 2.30pm B’nai B’rith International panel discussion ”The Holocaust – The Rescued and the Rescuers;
  • 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. ”Irena’s Vow”, a non-fictional play, with Ms. Tovah Feldshuh. It is the story of a Polish Catholic woman who risks her life to protect the lives of twelve Jewish refugees whom she secretly took under her care while working as head housekeeper for a prominent German major. Sponsored by the Permanent Missions of the United States and Poland to the United Nations.


  • Homage to Raoul Wallenberg. The IRWF Buenos Aires, Argentina. Holocaust survivors place flowers on the Wallenberg monument at 7pm. Writer and journalist George Chaya will be the keynote speaker at this event that commemorates 64th year of Raoul Wallenberg disappearance.


  • 64 years ago Raoul Wallenberg was taken by Soviet soldiers to the Provisional Hungarian Government in southern Hungary, presumably to discuss relief efforts. He was never seen again.
  • Raoul Wallenberg Day in Canada. On June 5, 2001 Minister of Canadian Heritage Ms. Sheila Copps announced that January 17 would be proclaimed as Raoul Wallenberg Day. Each year, on the day of Raoul Wallenberg disappearance, Canada celebrates his legacy with different commemorative events.

Past Events