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Discovery to commemorate 70th anniversary of liberation of Auschwitz

MUMBAI: Infotainment broadcaster Discovery has announced a global programming initiative in honour of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Accordingly, on Friday, 30 January at 10 pm, it will air a special show entitled ‘One Day in Auschwitz’.

This one-hour special follows one woman’s poignant return to Auschwitz-Birkenau 70 years after her liberation, in collaboration with the University of Southern California’s (USC) Shoah Foundation—The Institute for Visual History and Education, established by Steven Spielberg. It will air internationally on Discovery Channel in over 220 countries.

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the special features the story of Polish-English Holocaust survivor Kitty Hart-Moxon, who was only 16 years old when she was sent to the notorious Nazi concentration and extermination camp with her mother. Kitty and her mother miraculously survived for two years in a place where the average lifespan was less than three months due to starvation, thirst, disease and hard labour.

Now 89, Hart-Moxon makes an emotional journey back to her former prison with Natalia and Lydia, two students the same age as she was when she was interned there, to share her eyewitness experience. As a mentor to the girls, Hart-Moxon demonstrates that even in the face of the direst of straits, it is possible to keep going one day at a time, to retain one’s humanity and to survive against the odds.

Discovery president, CEO David Zaslav said, “‘One Day in Auschwitz’ shares a first-hand account of an important historical lesson, which is critical for us to preserve for future generations, as we lose more survivors and witnesses with each passing day. We are honoured to share Kitty’s story of inspiration, courage and hope, and proud to work with Steven Spielberg and his USC Shoah Foundation to broadcast these films to our global audience.”

Zaslav chairs the committee for Auschwitz: The Past is Present, a global communication and education programme that will support official activities of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the infamous concentration camp on 27 January 2015.

Auschwitz: The Past is Present previously announced its first two programmes, an education initiative in partnership with Discovery Education and Witness Travel Program, in conjunction with World Jewish Congress, which will bring 100 survivors and liberators of Auschwitz to be honoured guests at the 70th anniversary commemoration.

Beginning in January, Discovery Education integrated content from USC Shoah Foundation’s IWitness online educational platform into Discovery Education’s leading digital services and resources, including Discovery Education Streaming, its digital textbook, DE Social Studies Techbook, onto discoveryeducation.com. The IWitness site provides access to more than 1,300 testimonies from survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides via engaging multimedia-learning activities.

The partnership with Discovery Education also included a contest for educators who support Grades 5–12 to participate in a professional development workshop called Auschwitz: The Past is Present ITeach Professional Development. 25 teachers from across the world were chosen to travel to Poland to attend a four-day professional development programme that includes intensive courses on digital literacy, Polish Jewish history and a visit to the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, as well as the opportunity to attend the official 70th anniversary commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz on 27 January.

Besides, video from the four-day programme, as well as first-person testimonies and other original programming elements, will be available to students across the United States through an exclusive Virtual Field Trip in Spring 2015.