What Britain Knew - The Holocaust and Nazi crimes

“The conference is an important milestone in confronting the lesser-known aspects of Britain’s knowledge of, and reactions to, the Holocaust and other Nazi crimes in Europe."

Dr Caroline Sturdy Colls, Associate Professor of Forensic Archaeology and Genocide Investigation

December 3, 2014: A group of worldwide experts have come together to discuss how Nazi crimes have been handled by the British government and public before and after the Second World War.

The What Britain Knew: The Holocaust and Nazi Crimes conference focused on the various ways in which information about the Nazis’ crimes was handled, reinterpreted and acted upon.

The conference, supported by the UK Chairmanship of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which is holding a meeting of its 31 member states in Manchester this week, was organised by the Centre of Archaeology at Staffordshire University.

Dr Caroline Sturdy Colls, Associate Professor of Forensic Archaeology and Genocide Investigation, said: “The conference is an important milestone in confronting the lesser-known aspects of Britain’s knowledge of, and reactions to, the Holocaust and other Nazi crimes in Europe.

“This event bought together experts from a variety of different fields and from a variety of different countries. This allowed us to critically reflect on the issue of what Britain knew and contextualise our findings within broader Holocaust narrative.

“The speakers were outstanding and I think everyone who attended found it extremely useful and informative,” said Caroline, who presented her own research relating to the network of concentration and labour camps that existed on the island of Alderney in the British Channel Islands.

The conference was opened by Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Gunn who reflected on the importance of Holocaust research and highlighted some of the vital work being undertaken at Staffordshire University by academics across a number of sites in Poland, the Czech Republic, Serbia and the Channel Islands.

Experts from 19 different countries, visiting the UK for meetings of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, took part in panel discussions at the University’s Science Centre, examining the relationships that Britain had with the rest of Europe as a result of the movement of people and intelligence across continents.

The conference attracted speakers carrying out cutting-edge research into what Britain knew about the Holocaust and many presented papers in which they considered Britain as a place where the Holocaust has been analysed and reinterpreted.

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