BristolHMD

Why we must remember the Holocaust

The memory of the Holocaust always fills me with a great sadness at the thought of the immense cruelty and grave injustice from one nation to another over many years. I feel sadder still for the children and grandchildren of the victims of the Holocaust because of the memories of such injustice that they have to live with.

HMDcandle_copyright_AnishKapoor_2014_zpsf2e567c1The question I often ask, and it has been asked before is: “Lord, where were you when your children were suffering?” The only answer I receive is that God was there suffering with them.

As a member of the Bristol HMD Steering Group who has attended many meetings in preparation for the annual civic commemoration on Holocaust Memorial Day, this passage expresses the way I feel about what happened:

“The Holocaust showed the depths that humanity can descend to, the power of evil to rule the world and the degree of hatred against the Jews.   Hitler had a plan and his plan was to eliminate all Jews in the ‘Final Solution.’ ”

The best estimate is that between 15 to 20 million people were imprisoned and died in sites controlled by the German State throughout the European Continent; these people were tortured and waiting to be killed in the most atrocious way. It is so sad that there was not much help from other countries. Auschwitz survivor and Nobel peace prize winner Elie Wiesel* once said: “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”

We will never be able to understand fully and feel the horror and cruelty of the Holocaust but we must put all our efforts into keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive and pray for a better world.

* When Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, the Norwegian Nobel Committee called him a “messenger to mankind,” stating that through his struggle to come to terms with “his own personal experience of total humiliation and of the utter contempt for humanity shown in Hitler’s death camps”, as well as his “practical work in the cause of peace”, Wiesel had delivered a powerful message “of peace, atonement and human dignity” to humanity.

This article was kindly submitted by Marie Hackett

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Prince of Wales to become Holocaust Memorial Day Trust Patron

Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales will succeed The Queen as Patron of The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. The news comes as The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust prepares to mark the international Holocaust Memorial Day on Wednesday 27th January. The theme for this year’s event is “Don’t Stand By“.

The official Holocaust Memorial Day website states:

HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales

HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales

Holocaust Memorial Day Trust is delighted to announce that The Prince of Wales will succeed The Queen as its Patron. By continuing the charity’s Royal Patronage, His Royal Highness has formalised the support and interest which he has already demonstrated for the work of the charity, as well as the work of organisations that support survivors of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides.

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust is hugely grateful to Her Majesty for her work as Patron since its inception 10 years ago. During 2015, a significant anniversary year, The Queen visited Bergen-Belsen where she met survivors and liberators of that concentration camp and hosted Holocaust survivors at her Garden Parties at Buckingham Palace in honour of their contributions to Holocaust commemoration in the UK.

The Prince of Wales has a longstanding relationship with the Jewish community and a dedication to remembering those affected by the Holocaust.

The Prince, accompanied by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, attended the official Holocaust Memorial Day UK Commemorative Ceremony in 2015, marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Speaking at the ceremony, His Royal Highness said: ‘The Holocaust is an unparalleled human tragedy and an act of evil unique  in history and it is for these reasons that we must always remember it and honour its Jewish victims and the Nazis’ other victims.

…The memory of this suffering and the unspeakable, yet almost incredible, details of the Nazis’ diabolical enterprise can help future generations, wherever they may be, understand not just what happened across Europe, but how this came to happen.’

His Royal Highness has also hosted and attended numerous Kindertransport events, including the 75th anniversary of the Kindertransport in 2013. His Royal Highness was also the first member of the Royal Family to attend the installation of the Chief Rabbi, attending the ceremony for Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis at St John’s Wood Synagogue in North London in 2013.

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust is the charity, supported by the UK Government, that promotes and supports Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK.

Holocaust Memorial Day is commemorated each year on 27 January, and is an opportunity for everybody to reflect on the Holocaust, all forms of Nazi persecution, and the subsequent genocides that took place in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust said:

‘We are honoured that His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales has chosen to accept our invitation to succeed The Queen as Patron of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. Survivors of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides are hugely appreciative of The Royal Family’s recognition of the importance of commemorating the dreadful persecution which they endured.’

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West of England Friends of Israel meets with Acting Ambassador Eitan Na’eh

This week, Israel’s acting Ambassador to the United Kingdom addressed students at Bristol University and Bath University. He also met with West of England Friends of Israel.
He spoke about the importance of the relationship between Israel and the UK, and our common goal to achieve peace, fight terror and avoid mass murder of innocents that we have seen on the streets of Israel and Paris. He also spoke of the similarity of goals between ISIS and the NAZIs, attempting to raise their warped view of who should live and die, and murdering people that do not conform to their ideology. In his own words, akin to this year’s Holocaust Memorial Theme: We must not stand by. “Appeasement only allows more innocents to die”.

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We remember Kristallnacht on the International Day against Fascism and Anti-Semitism

Kristallnacht 9 November 1938 dont stand by

Kristallnacht 9 November 1938

November 9th marks the anniversary of Kristallnacht. It is also the annual International Day against Fascism and Anti-Semitism.

Kristallnacht (night of broken glass) is the name given to the fateful night in 1938 when Nazi hordes ran wild throughout Berlin and many other German cities, smashing windows, looting and destroying Jewish businesses, education centres, homes and synagogues. Jewish houses of worship were desecrated and then set afire. Thousands of Jews were rounded up, some beaten to death, others sent to concentration camps, Jewish artefacts, books and records were destroyed forever.

First-hand accounts of that night grow ever more scarce. 77 years have passed. Many of those arrested or sent directly to concentration camps that night perished in the Holocaust. One such first hand account of Krystallnacht has been published today in the Wall Street Journal by a Mr. Lang:

I will never forget seeing the unimaginable horror of the night and the following day 77 years ago. By luck, my parents were not in Berlin. I was at my grandmother’s. Through the window I could see my beautiful synagogue engulfed in flames as desperate screams rose from the street below. Each knock on our apartment door brought terror, followed by incredible relief. By some miracle, two of my uncles made it to my grandmother’s seeking safety from the savagery of this night.

The next morning as I wandered through my neighborhood, I saw shards of plate glass everywhere, as every Jewish-owned shop had been looted and painted with vile Jew-hating slogans. Uniformed Nazis and their sympathizers were having fun as they surveyed their brutality. One group looked at a large stain on the street that was said to be the blood of a Jew. Even now I can hear their laughter.

Mr Lang was lucky enough to get a place on the Kindertransport and fled Germany. Arriving in the USA in 1940. He point’s out that once again, the world is aware of racially motivated attacks on civilians, just like those the Jews experienced on Kristallnacht. Today, Christians in the Middle East fear the same horrors and fears. Whilst many governments are quick to condemn the horrors playing out in the middle-east, there is little desire to come to their rescue. This makes the 2016 theme of Holocaust Memorial Day even more important. ‘Don’t Stand By’ speaks as much of the world today as it does to the mistakes of the past that allowed The Holocaust to happen.

In another article, this time for Times of Israel, Judy Lash Balint writes about her family’s experience of Kristallnacht and The Holocaust:

On November 9, 1938, my father, Werner Leschziner, 27, was at work at the Handelsbank Ivria in Leipzig. That night he was dragged out of his rented room at Nordplatz 2 and thrown, together with thousands of other Jews, into the Buchenwald concentration camp…

Werner Leschziner, survivor of Kristallnacht & The Holocaust

Werner Leschziner, survivor of Kristallnacht and The Holocaust

My mother’s parents [Avraham and Ida Ehrenreich] fled ahead of the Nazis to Antwerp and then to France, where they were rounded up and sent to a series of camps near the French Pyrenees. Eventually, in August 1942, they were transported by the French national railroad to Drancy and arrived in Auschwitz on September 11 1942. Both then in their 50s, they didn’t survive another day…

…On Kristallnacht 2015, I mark not only the fate of those like my father, who endured but survived Buchenwald, and my grandparents who perished in Treblinka and Auschwitz, but the ongoing injustice and refusal of the guilty nations to acknowledge the suffering and offer up anything resembling meaningful reparations.

So today, on International Day Against Fascism and Anti-Semitism, on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, a prelude to The Holocaust, known about by Government’s around the world, Government’s who knew of events occurring in pre-war Germany and who stood by,

I urge you to think about the theme of Holocaust Memorial Day 2016 and ask one thing of you: Don’t stand by. Do something to educate, inform, remember – every act of memory and commemoration is an act in the name of those that perished in the Holocaust and helps reduce the chance of history repeating itself yet again.

For more information about Bristol Holocaust Memorial Day events, please keep checking our website or like the Bristol HMD Facebook page. Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on 27th January every year.

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Born Survivors

Today on the Radio 4 programme, Woman’s Hour, an extraordinary story was shared — that of babies born in Auschwitz and how their mothers survived as well as how the three of them met 65 years later to share tales of their lives under the severest duress.

The programme can be heard here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05tly3h and listen at minute 30. [This segment is preceded by a related story about women in Nepal who struggle to give birth and help their babies survive despite the recent earthquake.]

Born Survivors – Three Mothers and Their Babies Who Survived Auschwitz

In September 1944, three women, Priska, Rachel and Anka arrived in Auschwitz concentration camp in Nazi occupied Poland.  Each was about two months pregnant, but when questioned by the Nazi doctor Dr Josef Mengele, each denied the fact, and in doing so, escaped the gas chambers. Each woman endured indescribable cruelty and gave birth in such appalling circumstances it is a miracle that her baby lived. Author Wendy Holden joins Jenni with those three surviving babies – Eva Clarke, Mark Olsky, Hana Berger Moran- to talk about the mothers’ incredible stories of courage,  how the “babies” met for the first time 65-years later at Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria for the anniversary of its liberation and how they have become siblings of the heart.

Born Survivors – Three young mothers and their extraordinary story of courage, defiance and survival by Wendy Holden is published by Sphere.

Wendy Holden’s Website

BBC History Page

Auschwitz-Birkenau Official Website

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Eichmann’s End

In 1960, Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann was captured in Argentina. Eichmann was in charge of implementing the “final solution” to exterminate Jews in the concentration camps. In one seven-week period alone, Eichmann transported 400,000 Hungarian Jews to the gas chambers.

Eichmann was captured through the efforts of Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal and the Israeli Mossad (Secret Service).

Eichmann was later put on trial in Israel, which was broadcast worldwide and featured the wrenching testimony of many Holocaust survivors. He was charged with 15 criminal charges, including war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes against the Jewish people.

The trial was widely followed in the media and was later the subject of several books, including Hannah Arendt‘s work Eichmann in Jerusalem.

Eichmann was convicted and executed by hanging on May 31 1962, the only capital punishment ever carried out in Israel. His body was cremated and ashes scattered at sea, so that no nation would serve as Eichmann’s final resting place.

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H.E.T. leads delegation at Bergen-Belsen Commemorations

Article supplied by the Holocaust Educational Trust and their words entirely

for more about them see www.het.org.uk

Yesterday, the Holocaust Educational Trust led a delegation of over two hundred Holocaust Educational Trust Ambassadors, students, teachers and Trust supporters to take part in international commemorations to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen. It was an incredibly moving day and a privilege to be there on what was probably the last significant anniversary of the liberation that we will mark with survivors and liberators still with us in any great number.

We attended a commemoration at the site of the Jewish memorial in Bergen-Belsen where we heard from the President of Germany, Joachim Gauck, and the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis. We also heard a moving recital of the Jewish memorial prayer led by the Shabbaton Choir in a ceremony also attended by the Duke of Gloucester. This was followed by a service led by the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women (AJEX) alongside Holocaust survivors, dignitaries and delegations from across the world. Approximately 70,000 Jewish people died at Bergen-Belsen from disease, starvation and mistreatment at the hands of the Nazis.

British liberator Bernard Levy talks to the Trust’s delegation at Bergen-Belsen
We were delighted to meet Bernard Levy who was one of the British liberators of the camp 70 years ago. What he discovered when he arrived at Belsen shocked and horrified him so much that he only felt able to speak about it 68 years later. It was incredibly powerful to hear from him and our group were fortunate enough to be able to ask him questions. He later met Holocaust survivors Eva Behar and Mala Tribich who expressed their gratitude for all that the liberating British soldiers had done to restore their freedom.
British liberator Bernard Levy meeting Holocaust survivor Eva Behar who was liberated from Bergen-Belsen.

Later, we attended a very moving commemoration at the Jewish cemetery at the British Bergen-Hohne Garrison. The Garrison was originally the site of a Displaced Persons Camp in operation until 1950. The Jewish cemetery is where thousands of people who could not be saved in the weeks following liberation were buried. After 70 years, the British will soon be leaving the site of Bergen-Hohne making this ceremony the last commemoration on this site to be led by the British Army.

After the service, participants wrote messages and laid witnessing stones, a Jewish tradition, on a plaque dedicated to the memory of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen on 15th April 1945.

Witnessing stones laid at the Jewish Cemetery at the British Bergen-Hohne Garrison. 
It was a very moving and emotional day and one which we’re sure will stay with all of us for a very long time.
With best wishes,
Karen Pollock MBE
Chief Executive
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remembering Anne Frank

From the collection of poems by Nick Naydler, with paintings by Greg Tricker, entitled For Anne Frank, published by Loxwood Stoneleigh in Bristol in 1991.

‘I hope I shall be able to confide in you’

Into you shall I plunge

I the menagerie of girlhood;

unfurl the chorus of my life —

these secrets let me hurl

upon your white hearing;

I who am schoolgirl and quarry

clown and child, mirror and need.

‘Like a songbird in its cage’

Here do I take this pen

in this my cave of light,

this cage of heaven and hell,

in here unreel my life.I know

what is inside this jail;

this chapel my song is dawnlight;

I must sing.

Poems copywright Nick Naydler

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#notsilent: Campaign to Remember Anne Frank 70 years after her death

It is inspiring to hear about this new initiative to help us all participate in keeping the memory alive. Please participate — in one minute of witness and solidarity! 

The Anne Frank Trust UK has joined forces with Penguin Random House, the UK publishers of Anne Frank’s diary, to mark the 70th anniversary of Anne’s death with a one minute campaign called #notsilent.

Instead of a one minute silence to commemorate the end of Anne Frank’s short life, the British public are invited to record a video of themselves reading a one minute passage from Anne’s inspirational writing, at any time on or after Tuesday 14th April and then to upload to social media channels using hashtag #notsilent.

Celebrities including Eddie Izzard, Naomie Harris, Simon Callow, Roger McGough, David Miliband, Jacqueline Wilson, children’s laureate Malorie Blackman, Michael Buerk, Arlene Phillips, Ray Quinn and actors Russell Tovey, Ceallach Spellman and Jing Lusi have already recorded or filmed their own reading in Anne’s memory.

According to Gillian Walnes, Co-founder and Vice President of the Anne Frank Trust UK, “Poignantly we will never know the exact date Anne died, but we have carefully chosen the date of 14th April as schools will be in session and it’s one day before the anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen where Anne died at age 15 of hunger and disease. We have a selection of passages suitable for a one minute reading on our website or readers can choose one themselves, or even read something they have written about their own life and hopes.

Through the #notsilent campaign Anne’s voice will resonate loudly around the country and we will stand together against the challenges of prejudice, discrimination and injustices that are still experienced today”.

A #notsilent launch event will be held at the British Library, on Euston Road in London at 9.30 am on Tuesday the 14th April where public readings will take place by Jing Lusi, Arlene Phillips, Friday Download presenter Ceallach Spellman and teenage Anne Frank Ambassadors.

HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED  http://www.annefrank.org.uk/notsilent

STEP ONE:  Select an extract suitable for a one minute reading. This can either be an extract from Anne’s diary, you can download our selection here, or you can choose your own writing. While you read, either alone, in a group, in your classroom, home, work place or public place, we ask you to film yourself and upload it onto a video sharing platform of your choice (Youtube, Vimeo, Flickr etc) ensuring the video is available to view publicly.

STEP TWO:   Send us the link to your video, by posting it on to the Anne Frank Trust’s Facebook (Anne Frank Trust UK) or Twitter (@annefranktrust) pages, using the hash tag #notsilent. Alternatively, you can e-mail your video via we transfer to siama@annefrank.org.uk.

STEP THREE:  We also ask you to share your one minute clip throughout your social media to encourage others to join in.

Thank you for participating and honouring Anne Frank’s memory in this way. We will together be #notsilent.

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Honouring Esther: Walking back to the Holocaust in Bristol and Bath

The_Liberation_of_Bergen-belsen_Concentration_Camp,_April_1945_BU4195An extraordinary event will take place on April 14-15 2015 here in the tranquil and peaceful settings of Somerset. A forced walk will take place to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen Belsen concentration camp in Germany. The walk from Frome in Somerset to Bath has been meticulously designed to mirror the route that Esther Brunstein was forced to march from Hambuhren-Ovelgonne to Bergen Belsen, Germany.

Esther Brunstein survived the death march and the horrors of life in the concentration camps. After liberation, she came to England and gave birth to Lorna Brunstein, now an artist and creator of this memorial project along with Richard White, a walking digital artist.

It is hard to imagine the hardships and life changing traumatic experience that plagued those who experienced the holocaust first hand. Few survivors remain today, but the memories and lessons of one of humanity’s greatest failures must be remembered, lest we forget and history ever repeats itself.

The line of a Nazi Death March to Belsen transposed to Somerset. A 2 day walk as close as possible to that line. Where the walk intersects the line, interventions. An intimate performative walk-in-witness exploring resonances from the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Belsen.

A walk about time and the land, exile and belonging, the drift of memory and forgetting, memorialising in an era dense with anniversaries.

The Bergen Belsen death camp (previously a German prisoner of war camp before being coverted into a concentration camp to exterminate minorities) saw mass killings of Jews and other targeted minorities by the NAZI regime. For many, execution was a relief from the murderous breakouts of typhus, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, dysentery and starvation. Amongst those who died at Belsen was Anne Frank. She met her death just two weeks before British and Canadian soldiers liberated the camp. Find out more about Belsen here.

Bristol Holocaust Memorial Day is proud to support the Forced Walk honouring Esther. For more information about Bristol HMD, please click here.

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