The United Nations inaugurated the commemoration in 2005.
Against a backdrop of 180 yahrzeit candles. the program included speeches by UNESCO, French and philanthropic leaders. They included UNESCO's director, Gen. Koichiro Matsuura, and Simone Veil, a former French minister and Auschwitz survivor who is the honorary president of the Rothchild Foundation.
Survivors and members of the Sons and Daughters of Survivors Association headed by Serge Klarsfeld were among those who attended the ceremony, which featured the French army choir singing Jewish religious hymns. An exhibit assembled by the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem was inaugurated at the UNESCO complex.