Some of the biggest names in the U.S. entertainment industry are joining hands to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp complex early next year, the USC Shoah Foundation announced on December 15.
The foundation said that Hollywood heavyweights such as Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Harvey Weinstein, CBS chief Les Moonves, CNN president Jeff Zucker and designer Diane Von Furstenberg are helping to develop programs for the “Auschwitz: The Past is Present” remembrance, according to AP.
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The foundation was established by Spielberg at the University of Southern California about 20 years ago to collect video testimonies from survivors of the Holocaust and other genocides. The video archive inspired by the making of his Academy Award-winning film “Schindler’s List” now has more than 50, 00 personal accounts and is available to schools across the globe.
The anniversary events will bring educators and survivors to visit the German death camp that was established in Nazi-occupied Poland. The Hollywood committee is working to bring 100 Holocaust survivors to the commemoration ceremony, where an announcement that the site will be preserved in perpetuity is expected, the AP report said.
Twenty-five international educators will also participate in a four-day program to deepen their understanding of the Nazi genocide and its relevance for today’s students, it said.
According to Yad Vashem, Israel’s main Holocaust remembrance and education center, more than 1, 100, 000 Jews, 70, 000 Poles, 25, 000 Gypsies and some 15, 000 prisoners of war were murdered at Auschwitz, the largest of the concentration and extermination camps established on Polish soil. The camp was liberated on January 27, 1945.