On 26th January, UoN and NTU collaborated to host an event to honour Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD). During the event, various testimonies were delivered by members of both Jewish societies and university staff as well as professors of Holocaust studies who provided an insight into the common misinterpretations associated with the Holocaust. The evening ended with attendees being invited to reflect on the atrocities of the Holocaust through a performance from Viva Voce choir and a beautifully heartfelt vigil at the top of Portland steps. Impact’s Lottie Murray reports.
The theme of Holocaust Memorial Day 2023 is ‘ordinary people.’ This theme helps us to further recognise that those murdered were not convicted of any crimes, they were murdered simply for being ordinary people. It also reminds us that previously ordinary people “turn a blind eye, believe propaganda, join murderous regimes.” The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust outlines that “HMD is for everyone” and the event on Thursday evening welcomed a whole range of people from a wide range of communities.
“We need to keep their flame alive.”
The main organisers of the Holocaust Memorial event were UoN’s Multi-faith Coordinator, UoN’s Professor Katherine Linehan (Pro-Vice-Chancellor for EDI and People at UoN) and Clive Foster (Multi-Faith Manager at NTU). Their roles across both main universities in Nottingham meant that they were able to unite young Jewish students and give them the opportunity to share different accounts of Jewish individuals who experienced the Holocaust. Eli Sassoon spoke on behalf of UoN’s Jewish society as he retold the story of a teenager who tragically lost their life during the Holocaust; a teenager around the same age as many of the students here at UoN. Eli expressed how “we need to keep their flame alive.”
The event also explored how minority groups were impacted in the Holocaust and speakers from both the UoN LGBTQ+ Staff Network and the disabled student network shared testimonies from Pierre Seel and Anna Lehnkering, who represent the people who regularly get missed out in our historical education.
“heartened by the number of universities in Britain who are focused on the Holocaust remembrance”
Hanna Zack Miley, one of the only living eyewitnesses who was transported on the Kindertransport in 1938, kindly joined the event virtually from Arizona. Hanna shared that she is “heartened by the number of universities in Britain who are focused on the Holocaust remembrance ceremonies.” Her emotional story regarding the loss of her parents would give her every reason to not want to relive the trauma associated with the Holocaust but she is committed to sharing her story. Hanna noted her return to the Midlands “inspires her with a sense of purpose to encourage young people to remember to engage and speak out about past genocide.”
After hearing the video by Hanna, the Viva Voce chamber choir performed a rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” which welcomed a time of silent reflection. Shortly after, Nottingham representatives from the University Jewish Chaplaincy lead a vigil so that all attendees of the event could all share private reflective time and keep in mind the individuals who were brutally murdered because of the Nazi regime. Everyone was given candles each of which had a Holocaust victim’s name attached to it. This encouraged everyone who was at the vigil to incorporate a personal element to their reflective time and after the event research the life of an individual. The organisation wrote that “it is our responsibility to ensure the memory never vanishes.”
Today marks Holocaust Memorial Day.— University Jewish Chaplaincy (@JewishChaplain) January 27, 2023
With every passing year our sense of duty to remember and never forget the millions of lives perished and the atrocities committed grows and it is our responsibility to ensure the memory never vanishes. pic.twitter.com/WagpvyFOL7
The event further emphasised that remembering the victims of the Holocaust is not reserved for only one day a year. Our main duty moving forward is to continue to “challenge present-day discrimination and hostility.”
Featured image courtesy of Lottie Murray. Permission for use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
In-article image 1 courtesy of Lottie Murray. No changes were made to this image.
In-article image 2 courtesy of Lottie Murray. No changes were made to this image.
In-article image 3 courtesy of @JewishChaplin via Twitter. No changes were made to this image.
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