Students Staff

21 January 2020

Holocaust Memorial Week at our Colchester Campus

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 3:46 pm

Holocaust Memorial Day takes place each year on 27 January and we’re marking this international event with a week of activities at our Colchester Campus. Professor Andrew Le Sueur, our Inclusivity Champion for Jewish Students and Staff, and Professor Maurice Sunkin, Chair of our Holocaust Memorial Week Group tell us more.

Professor Andrew Le Sueur

Professor Andrew Le Sueur

This year Holocaust Memorial Day marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and the 25th anniversary of the Genocide in Bosnia. During the week we’re recognising these anniversaries with events remembering all those who’ve died in recent genocides.

On Monday 27 January we’ll hold our annual Reading of Names. The Reading of Names is informal, if solemn, and each name we read aloud represents the many whose names remain unknown. The Reading of Names is a significant act of remembrance that is best expressed by David Berger, a victim of the Holocaust who was killed at the age of 19 in Vilnius, Lithuania in 1941. David said: “If something happens, I would want there to be somebody who would remember that someone named D. Berger had once lived. This will make things easier for me in the difficult moments”.

Active remembrance of the Holocaust is important for the victims of those events, but also gives us a prism through which to see nationalism, intolerance of minority communities, and populist governments that continue to impact on people’s daily lives in many countries. Those who lived through the Holocaust saw clearly that human rights could be the blueprint for a free and equal society and the week also provides an opportunity for us to consider wider human rights issues. That’s why Anthony Clavane, from our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, will be leading a discussion on how football can challenge Racism on Monday lunchtime.

Professor Maurice Sunkin

Professor Maurice Sunkin

Monday 27 January also sees our Procession of Light when we’ll walk together across our Colchester Campus. This is always a popular event and we invite as many as possible to join us. There will be a lantern making workshop in the Art Exchange and the procession will finish with a gathering in Square 5 for a moment of reflection.

On Tuesday 28 January Dr Roman Nieczporowski will lecture on Art and Memory of the Holocaust; and later in the evening the acclaimed Don Kipper will perform Kletzmer, Roma and other music of communities of eastern Europe that were devastated by the Holocaust.

This year is the eighth anniversary of the Dora Love Prize, which sees schools from Essex and Suffolk come onto campus to discover the links between the Holocaust and intolerance, discrimination and outright hatred of those regarded as ‘different’ in the world today. This year around 17 schools are attending the prize evening on Wednesday 29 January, where they will present their own Holocaust awareness project designed to speak up against hatred wherever it occurs. This event is organised by Professor Rainer Schulze, from our Department of History, who first marked Holocaust Memorial Day at our Colchester Campus in 2007, both as a way of remembering the millions of people who died during the Holocaust, but also as a way to work for greater tolerance in our society.

On Thursday 30 January Professor Lars Waldorf, from our Human Rights Centre, will be giving a talk about the genocide in Rwanda, students from our Human Rights Society will be leading a roundtable discussion on the intolerance that different groups face and we discuss The State of Antisemitism Today.

The week closes with our Friday evening Service. This event is open to all members of our community and we would be delighted if you were able to join us. Based on a Friday evening synagogue service, it encourages all to come together in the spirit of peace and friendship.

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