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Holocaust Memorial Day

Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) takes place each year on 27 January.

Holocaust Memorial Day is a time to remember the millions of people murdered during the Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution and in the genocides which followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. 

Holocaust Memorial Day is a time when we seek to learn the lessons of the past and recognise that genocide does not just take place on its own - it’s a steady process which can begin if discrimination, racism and hatred are not checked and prevented. We’re fortunate here in the UK; we are not at immediate risk of genocide. However, discrimination has not ended, nor has the use of the language of hatred or exclusion. There is still much to do to create a safer future and HMD is an opportunity to start this process. 

Marking Holocaust Memorial Day at Staffordshire University

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At Staffordshire University we continue to support those people facing persecution and genocide historically and today; and provide an opportunity for students, staff and the wider community to come together to consider on the impact of the Holocaust on individuals and communities.
We acknowledge the pain and suffering experienced by those individuals and communities affected by the Holocaust and other genocides, and strive to be an inclusive institution that proactively tackle discrimination and hate.

Watch Professor Caroline Sturdy-Colls tell the story of her forensic investigation unearthing the reality of the Treblinka death camp, with Ed Horwich, chief executive of Jewish Small Communities Network. With special guest Trevor Avery, talking about his work with Caroline to reveal the history of the Windermere Boys, at the Lake District Holocaust Project.


Holocaust Memorial Day Service

This year, we will hold a memorial service honouring the victims of the Holocaust and other genocides. The programme will include an opening address by our University Chaplain Revd. Mick Williams reflecting on this year’s theme and a talk by Professor Caroline Sturdy Colls who will discuss how recent visit to Poland with a Holocaust survivor illustrated the various ways ordinary people were, and continue to be, affected by the Nazis’ crimes. Professor Sturdy Colls and Associate Professor Michael Branthwaite will also officially open their exhibition “Supply/Request” which examines the choices made by perpetrators of the Holocaust when they built Treblinka extermination camp. A tour of the exhibition will follow.

This year's theme is "Ordinary People"

Genocide is facilitated by ordinary people. Ordinary people turn a blind eye, believe propaganda, join murderous regimes. And those who are persecuted, oppressed and murdered in genocide aren’t persecuted because of crimes they’ve committed – they are persecuted simply because they are ordinary people who belong to a particular group (eg, Roma, Jewish community, Tutsi).

Ordinary people were involved in all aspects of the Holocaust, Nazi persecution of other groups, and in the genocides that took place in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. Ordinary people were perpetrators, bystanders, rescuers, witnesses – and ordinary people were victims.

In every genocide, those targeted faced limited choices – ‘choiceless choices’ (Lawrence Langer) but in every genocide the perpetrators have choices, ordinary people have choices.

We are all ordinary people today who can be extraordinary in our actions. We can all make decisions to challenge prejudice, stand up to hatred, to speak out against identity-based persecution, to shop responsibly. You can read more about this year's theme on the  Holocaust Memorial Day website.

Auschwitz drone footage

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This unique drone footage has been produced through Staffordshire University’s Production House and filmed in Poland in collaboration with Wanda Hutny, education officer at Auschwitz Birkenau State museum.

The aim was to apply the Production House film research model to create new World War Two historical landscapes and perspectives using drone technology. This film is in discussions for The Holocaust Education Trust. The project content was produced by Associate Professor Fiona Graham at Auschwitz Birkenau State Memorial and Museum and the nearby town of Oswiecim using the Production House method.

The use of drone camera technology was applied to capture the size and scale of various landscapes and structures at the museum today and the neighbouring town. The work was in collaboration including rights and permits with the education department at Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and aimed for public engagement with history.