Since 2007 the University of Essex has marked Holocaust Memorial Day with a series of events taking place around the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz Concentration Camp by Soviet troops.
Holocaust Memorial Week provides a focus for remembering the millions of people killed in the Holocaust and by Nazi persecution more widely, as well as in genocides perpetrated against targeted groups in countries such as Armenia, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Herzegovina (Srebrenica), Sudan (Darfur) and Myanmar. It is also an opportunity for us to look at human rights issues, explore discrimination that still exists today, and lessons still to be learned by the Holocaust.
Due to COVID-19, Holocaust Memorial Week went digital for 2020-21. It ran from 27 January - 3 February 2021. The programme of events can be found below.
Wednesday 27 January - Holocaust Memorial Day
Each year on Holocaust Memorial Day, we come together to remember the victims of the Holocaust and other genocides with the ‘Reading of Names’. This year, we asked our community to join this act of remembrance by recording short video clips. Introduced by The Rt Hon John Bercow, Chancellor of the University of Essex. Images of Rwandan victims by kind permission of the Genocide Archive of Rwanda.
To mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2021, Reverend Sara Batts-Neale, University Chaplain, recalls how she learned, aged seven, of the genocide taking place in Cambodia. She reflects on this experience and her own visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, in Phnom Penh, in 2015.
Wednesday 27 January
The UK Holocaust Memorial Day 2021 ceremony was streamed online. This was their first fully digital ceremony. Households across the UK lit candles and put them in their windows to remember those who were murdered for who they were and to stand against prejudice and hatred today.
Thursday 28 January
Our panel of eminent experts looked back on the legal precedents set at Nuremberg, some of the major innovations of the trials and some of their inevitable limitations.
Friday 29 January
This event was an evening synagogue service. There were readings and reflections, in the spirit of peace and friendship.
Saturday 30 January
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will be re-scheduling this event. Please email email@example.com to be updated about when this event will take place.
Monday 1 February
As part of the annual Holocaust Remembrance Week programme, the University of Essex hosted a panel discussion to examine the challenges and opportunities for combating antisemitism from the perspective of actors who have been engaged in addressing antisemitism and promoting societal cohesion. The panel discussion covered national contexts and international perspectives as well as insights drawn from education, interfaith engagement and promotion of human rights.
Tuesday 2 February
The Kindertransport, the flight to Britain of 10,000 mostly Jewish children from the persecution of the Nazis, is usually associated with the British stockbroker Nicholas Winton. He managed to save 6% of the children - who saved the other 94%? Mike Levy told the little-known stories of the Rabbi, the Dutch aunt, the Quaker and the German department store owner - crucial instigators of this unique act of rescue.
Wednesday 3 February
Dr Joanna Rzepa, Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies.
Holocaust Memorial Day Online Service of Commemoration - Southend
This event was an online service, with an introduction by Cllr Kevin Robinson, Chair of the Holocaust Memorial Day Working Party.
Each year during Holocaust Memorial Week, a number of events take place, each reflecting a different theme. These events include talks, lectures, exhibitions, film screenings and more.
The first week with a specific theme was in 2009, when 'STAND UP TO HATRED' was chosen by the National Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. This theme was chosen to highlight the extreme consequences of hatred, and help us to look at our behaviour toward others and explore how each of us can help make our communities stronger and safer.
Over the years, other themes have included; disability and euthanasia, issues including prejudice, intolerance, discrimination and stigmatization, the experiences of the Roma and Sinti, the persecution of gay men under the Nazi regime, and the struggle for the human rights and dignity of LGBT people since 1945.
"The awareness that work for greater tolerance, for human dignity and human rights starts on our doorsteps, in our schools and in our local communities."