Holocaust Memorial Day

The last survivors return to Auschwitz

By Toby Axelrod in Krakow, January 28, 2010

On a midwinter morning at the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial site, jagged icicles cling to the buildings.

Yet this week, visitors made their way under the famous gate — with a replica sign “Arbeit Macht Frei”, following the theft of the original last month — seemingly oblivious to the cold. They came to learn, to absorb and to bring a message home.

Wednesday marked the 65th anniversary of the liberation of this notorious death camp. About 1.5 million people were murdered here; 90 per cent of the victims were Jews.

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Gaza still an issue over MCB Memorial attendance

By Martin Bright, January 28, 2010

The Muslim Council of Britain voted to send a junior representative to the Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration this week.

After attending for the first time in 2008, the MCB resumed its boycott of the event last year.

The secretary general of the MCB, Dr Mohamed Abdul Bari could not attend, due to a previous engagement at the World Economic Forum summit in Davos, Switzerland.

Nor was his controversial deputy Dr Daoud Abdullah or any of the three assistant secretary generals available.

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Legacy of Hope

By Jessica Elgot, January 28, 2010
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The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust has created a Twitter page and a Facebook page to increase digital participation in the event and a video, narrated by Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe, has been released on YouTube.

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Police vow to tackle hate crime

January 28, 2010

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson used an HMD meeting to reiterate the Met’s commitment to tackling hate crime.

Addressing a commemoration organised by the Jewish Police Association in Hendon, Sir Paul said: “It is important to recognise that many different groups suffered during the Holocaust. New police recruits here today have learnt as part of their training about prejudice, discrimination, and hate crime.”

The Association of Muslim Police was represented at the event and pupils from the Hasmonean Primary and Independent Jewish schools also attended.

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£100k for Jewish Museum to mark Holocaust Memorial Day

January 28, 2010

Culture Minister Margaret Hodge marked Holocaust Memorial Day by awarding £100,000 grants to London’s Jewish Museum and the Wiener Library.

The museum is set to reopen in March after a major redevelopment project. The library, a key Holocaust resource, is planning a 2011 relocation.

Ms Hodge noted that the recipients “play a vital part in ensuring that people are aware of what the Jewish community have given to this country and the world — and that we never forget the terrible wrongs suffered during the Nazi era”.

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Survivors’ children keep memories alive

By Robyn Rosen, January 28, 2010

Stuart Ferster did not consider his upbringing out of the ordinary. But with hindsight, there was “a lot missing” — and this was down to the 54-year-old’s father, Chaim, having survived concentration camps including Buchenwald and Auschwitz.

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Gay groups join Holocaust Memorial in Manchester

By Jonathan Kalmus, January 28, 2010

Involvement in the Manchester HMD commemorations helped the city’s gay and lesbian Jews bridge the “chasm” with the rest of the Jewish community.

They marked HMD with a film event under the banner of Keshet, a local Jewish support organisation.

“It is a really important day in both the gay and Jewish calendars as it is the day where we remember atrocities done to both groups from the same source,” organiser Suzy Schneider pointed out.

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British communities remember the Holocaust

January 28, 2010

Commitment to actions to prevent another Shoah was the focal point of Sunday’s Leeds HMD commemoration, held at the town hall and attended by 300 people.

A drama inspired by artwork by children in the Theresienstadt camp was performed by young members of the Carriageworks theatre group. Survivor Iby Knill read her poem, I Was There, and other speakers included the Lord Mayor, Councillor Judith Elliott.

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Anne Frank Trust goes for the youth vote

January 28, 2010

Student groups used HMD to launch a campaign in conjunction with the Anne Frank Trust to encourage those at college to “vote wisely and reject extremism in the forthcoming general election”.

Both the National Union of Students and UJS are backing the initiative, which Anne Frank Trust director Gillian Walnes said used an updated version of the Anne Frank anti-racist declaration, ending with the phrase: “Don’t just vote — think.” It was sobering to recall that “some of the most enthusiastic supporters of National Socialism were students”.

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Haringey teenagers' Holocaust education

January 28, 2010

Interviews with survivors filmed by six Haringey teenagers were shown at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham.

One of the film-makers, 16-year-old Reece Taylor, said that before embarking on the project, “I didn’t really understand what the Holocaust was, or how it could be of interest to me. While making the films, I realised that these survivors had amazing stories to tell that help remind us of the importance of the past in learning lessons for the future.”

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