The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum will confer its highest honor, the Elie Wiesel Award, on Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari at its National Tribute Dinner being held on Tuesday, April 21, 2020, during the annual Days of Remembrance.
In his career as a journalist and filmmaker, Bahari has exhibited exceptional courage in bringing the truth of the Holocaust to Iran and throughout the Middle East and has been a powerful voice against antisemitism. He is a fierce advocate for historical truth and securing the dignity and freedom of all people.
“Nazi Germany and its collaborators attempted to erase Jewish life from Europe. Holocaust deniers seek to secure them a posthumous victory,” said Museum Chairman Howard Lorber. “Maziar Bahari stands as a bulwark of truth against a government that officially denies this history, promotes antisemitism, and uses genocidal language against Israel. His commitment to uphold the truth in the face of determined opposition is remarkable and inspiring.”
Established in 2011, the award recognizes internationally prominent individuals whose actions have advanced the Museum’s vision of a world where people confront hate, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. Elie Wiesel, the Museum’s founding chairman, was the first recipient of the award, which was subsequently renamed in his honor. Engraved on the award are words from Wiesel’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech, “One person of integrity can make a difference.”
After reporting on irregularities in the 2009 Iranian elections, Bahari was arrested. He was imprisoned for 118 days—107 of them in solitary confinement—at the infamous Evin prison, where he was subjected to torture before being released. His story was told in the feature film Rosewater, which was written and directed by Jon Stewart. He is also the founder of IranWire.com, a forum that reaches millions of Iranians each month with objective news and provides training for Iranian journalists.
Bahari has had a lifelong interest in Holocaust history. In 1995 he produced a groundbreaking film, The Voyage of the St. Louis, which was later used against him by his torturers in Evin Prison. Over the past several years, the Museum has been working with Bahari on efforts to reach Iranians with accurate and relevant information about the Holocaust.
In 2015 he founded Journalism Is Not a Crime, and Education is Not a Crime, which seek to document crimes against journalists in Iran and the Iranian government’s efforts to deny educational opportunities to the Baha’i population. Bahari’s US-based nonprofit organization, Journalism for Change, is working on a project to combat antisemitism in Europe.
The award will be presented during the Museum’s annual 2020 Days of Remembrance, when the Museum leads the nation in remembering the victims of the Holocaust.
Previous recipients of the Museum’s Elie Wiesel Award can be found here.
The Museum’s National Tribute Dinner, will be held on Tuesday, April 21, at 6 p.m., during the Days of Remembrance, at the Anthem. The event’s co-chairs are Laura & Jonathan Ginns and Julie Farkas & Seth Goldman. About 1,200 people, including some 45 Holocaust survivors, will be attending the event.
The National Tribute Dinner supports the Museum’s $1 billion campaign, Never Again: What You Do Matters, which allows the Museum to make critical investments to keep Holocaust memory alive as a relevant force for change—inspiring people worldwide to confront hate, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity.
As part of Days of Remembrance, the Museum will commemorate those who perished in the Holocaust with the annual Names Readings. The readings will be held daily in the Museum’s Hall of Remembrance from Sunday, April 19, through Sunday, April 26, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Museum visitors and members of the community are invited to participate. More information on Days of Remembrance activities can be found at ushmm.org/remembrance/dor.