Holocaust event remembers former atrocities and old allies

“This year’s event, combined with the launch of the Lidice Project, is a day when we take time to remember the lessons of the past and bring fresh hope for the future. We are delighted to act as host for the launch and as partners in the project.”

Staffordshire University Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Gunn

Staffordshire University are using the occasion of Holocaust Memorial Day to enter into formal partnership which recognises the area’s links to a former mining community in the Czech Republic.

The University is joining forces with Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Art Venue CIC, local faith leaders and schools on Friday January 27 to Speak Up and Speak Out – the theme of this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day.

Central to the proceedings will be a talk about the history of Lidice – a mining village northwest of Prague - which was razed to the ground by the Nazi’s in 1942 with the surviving women and children being sent to concentration camps.

Outraged by the atrocities committed in the name of Hitler, the mining community of North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent led by city councillor Dr Barnett Stross rallied round and agreed to give up what was equivalent to a month’s wages each to rebuild Lidice after the war.

Now a new civic partnership – the Lidice Project – is being launched to remember the goodwill and generosity of the Stoke-on-Trent people and to strengthen existing ties between the two communities.

Staffordshire University Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Gunn said: “Each year Holocaust Memorial Day urges us to pause and reflect on what can happen when racism, prejudice and exclusionary behaviour are left unchecked.

Photo of Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Gunn at the tree planting ceremony

“This year’s event, combined with the launch of the Lidice Project, is a day when we take time to remember the lessons of the past and bring fresh hope for the future. We are delighted to act as host for the launch and as partners in the project.”

The Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent, Councillor Terry Follows, added: “The suffering inflicted upon the millions of people during the Holocaust is insurmountable and something that needs to be remembered. The lessons of the war need to be passed on from generation to generation.

“The Lidice story, in particular, really hit close to home during that period, due to the similarities between Stoke-on-Trent and themselves. From there a close bond has formed between the two regions and we continue that tradition into the present day with the launch of this partnership.”

In keeping with the theme ‘Speak Up, Speak Out’, the programme includes the reading of a specially commissioned poem by Stoke-on-Trent’s Young Poet Laureate Bethanie Hardie and an opportunity to attach message tags to the Holocaust Memorial Day trees, which were planted at the University in 2011.

Contact

Maria Scrivens
Media Relations Manager
Marketing and Public Relations
L600, Flaxman Building
College Road
Stoke-on-Trent
ST4 2DE
t: +44 (0)1782 294375
m: 07766 520339
e: m.c.scrivens@staffs.ac.uk