20 July 2009

Standing ovation for Holocaust survivor

Dora Love recieves her Honorary Doctorate from the University's Chancellor, Lord Phillips of Sudbury

Holocaust survivor, Dora Love, received a standing ovation from the congregation as she accepted her Honorary Doctorate from the University’s Chancellor, Lord Phillips of Sudbury on Friday 17 July.

Described by the orator, Dr Rainer Schulze, as a true inspiration, Dora Love, 86, educates younger generations about the Holocaust. Born in Lithuania and now settled in Colchester, Dora and her mother, sister and one brother were deported to the Stutthoff concentration camp near Danzig (Gdansk). All, except Dora, perished.

Although Stutthof was the only camp never liberated, Dora was one of a group that reached Neustadt/Holstein, on barges, on 3 May 1945. There she worked on translations for war crime trials for the British Army, UNRRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration) and the American Joint Distribution Committee, a Jewish relief agency, looking after concentration camp survivors who had nowhere to go. She soon became involved in a project to set up a home for Jewish child survivors in Blankenese, a suburb of Hamburg on the river Elbe. In the three years of its existence, several hundred children passed through this children’s home.

After her marriage to Frank Love, a member of the British Army, Dora settled for a time in South Africa, at the height of apartheid, and began work as a teacher and giving talks on her experiences under the Nazi regime. She and her husband later returned to Britain and settled in Colchester. 

The Orator, Dr Rainer Schulze, described Dora Love’s life as being her greatest achivement. He said: Dora Love’s achievement is not one single book, one great invention, or one important painting. Her lasting achievement is her whole life, her struggle to make a comprehensible story out of the incomprehensible atrocities she endured, her strength and determination to tell her story again and again. With her clear moral values, her amazing enthusiasm and energy, and her unpretentiousness and unconditional kindness she manages to engage people of all ages, all backgrounds and all nationalities with her message of tolerance and the importance of human rights. Dora Love’s activism is very much ‘hands on’; there is no posturing, and she has never sought the limelight. Her activism is fuelled by her optimism that human beings are not doomed to repeat the same mistakes if only they remember and learn from past experiences – and remember without a desire for revenge or retribution.’

He continued: ‘Dora shows us that we can make a difference, and that we do not need high office or celebrity status to do so – all we only need to do is to follow, in our own world, in our families, in our relationships, a clear ethical compass. Dora’s belief in humanity was shaken to the core in the hell of Stutthof, but it was also ultimately confirmed and steeled in this very abyss: she managed to retain her dignity and humanity when so many would have turned to despair and hatred.

You can watch a video of Dora Love's oration by accessing one of the following links:

mms://sernt3.essex.ac.uk/public/dora_love_oration.wmv

http://sernt3.essex.ac.uk/public/dora_love_oration.wmv
 

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