Holocaust Memorial week at the University of Essex

Rozenn Quernee takes a look at how the University of Essex is commemorating Holocaust memorial week, which runs from the 27th January to 6th February, please have a look….

Holocaust memorial week is taking place at the University of Essex from the 27th of January to the 6th of February.

The events that are taking place on campus are extremely important, as this week of remembrance aims at remembering the millions of Jewish people killed in the Holocaust.

The week is about educating people about what Holocaust was. Moreover, students can take part in those events on campus as to never forget about the horrors inflicted on the victims of Nazi persecutions but also make sure that those crimes against humanity will never repeat themselves.

The Holocaust was one of the most shocking and horrendous crimes against humanity. The genocide occurred during the Second World War; the Nazi party led by Adolf Hitler had the idea to create ‘the Final Solution to exterminate Jewish people. The planned genocide consisted in deporting millions of Jewish people and gassing them in concentration camps.

Approximately six million Jewish people were killed, however, those numbers are not accurate enough as by the end of the war, many Nazis destroyed as much evidence from the camps as possible.

The Holocaust primarily focused on the persecution of Jews, as a result of Hitler’s antisemitism and ideology, however other groups of people were also targeted and killed by the Nazis and their associates.

Those with different political affiliations, ideological beliefs and members of the National Socialist party were also victims of The Holocaust.

Credit: Wolfgang Spitzbart on StockLib, Shoah walls of names memorial in Vienna, Austria, Europe

On the 27th of January 1945, the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp located in Poland was freed from the Nazis by the Russian troops. Therefore, Holocaust remembrance week starts on the 27th of January. This camp is sadly known for being the deadliest and biggest concentration camp.

Holocaust Remembrance Day and week is about remembering the millions of people who lost their lives because of the Nazi persecutions and antisemitism.

This is why the University of Essex has planned events for students and staff members to join and commemorate the victims of this genocide.

This week is also about remembering all the victims of genocides that occurred in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur. This is also a way to remind us of all that hatred should never occur and that no intolerance should be accepted.

On the 27th of January from 11 am to 4 pm, a lantern-making workshop took place, on campus. Then, around 4.45 pm, the Procession of Light also took place, and a moment of reflection was observed with a poem read. On the same day, the UK Holocaust Memorial Day took place online from 7 pm to 8 pm. People across the UK were able to light candles in commemoration.

A reading of the names video is also available on the University’s website.  

On Friday the 28th of January, there is a Holocaust Memorial Service; readings and reflections in the spirit of peace and friendship will be taking place online. 

On the 31st of January at 6.15 pm, at Cine10 there was a film screening of Son of Saul as well as a panel discussion. 

The event will also be online for anyone who wants to watch the movie at home. (content warning: antisemitism, verbal abuse, physical violence, nudity, death.) The panel discussion will take place from around 8.15 pm until 9 pm and will take place online.

Registration is needed before the panel discussion. 

Credit: Son of Saul, László Nemes, on Peter Travers’ RollingStone article

On Tuesday the 1st of February, another panel discussion will be organised and will be online from 6 pm to 7.30 pm.

This discussion will be on The Durban Diaries written by Joelle Fiss, which documents a United Nations conference on racism in Durban, South Africa. Members from the Jewish community in South Africa will also be talking about how this conference and how its outcome impacted them. Students’ experiences on contemporary antisemitism will also be heard. Registration is needed before attending this event.

On the 2nd of February, Professor Wendy Lower, the author of ‘The Ravine: A family, a photograph, a Holocaust massacre revealed’ will talk about her book and how she has created a piece of reading which puts into light mass shootings in Poland and Ukraine which are often not documented enough when it comes to studies of the Holocaust. The event will be online from 6 pm to 7.15 pm. Registration is needed before attending this event.

On the 3rd of February, at the Lakeside Theatre, the band Don Kipper will come for a special Holocaust Memorial Week performance. 

A visit to the Harwich Museum will take place on Sunday the 6th of February from 10 am to 1 PM. The author and chair of The Harwich Kindertransport Memorial and Learning Trust, Mike Levy will talk about ‘Harwich and the Kindertransport’. Registration is needed before attending this event.

For further details please see the Holocaust Memorial Week events programme on the University website.

Rebel Essex
rebel@essex.ac.uk