Since 2007 the University of Essex has marked Holocaust Memorial Day with a series of events taking place around the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp by Soviet troops.
Holocaust Memorial Week provides a focus for remembering the millions of Jewish people killed in the Holocaust and other victims of the Nazi persecution, as well as in genocides perpetrated against targeted groups in countries such as Armenia, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Herzegovina (Srebrenica), Sudan (Darfur) and Myanmar. It is also an opportunity for us to look at human rights issues, explore discrimination that still exists today, and lessons still to be learned by the Holocaust.
This webpage is being updated as events and timings are confirmed but if you would like any further information on any of the events listed, please email Holly Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On 27 January each year, we come together to remember the victims of the Holocaust and other genocides with the ‘Reading of Names’. This year, we have asked our community to join this act of remembrance by recording short videos. Introduced by Professor Anthony Forster, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex.
Reverend Sara Batts-Neale, University Chaplain, recalls how she learned, aged seven, of the genocide taking place in Cambodia. She reflects on this experience and her own visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, in Phnom Penh, in 2015.
Lantern Making Workshop
Location: Silberrad Student Centre
Join Tom and Iris in the Silberrad Student Centre foyer to make your lantern for the Procession of Light which will take place from 4.45pm. There is no need to book, just pop along to the Silberrad Student Centre anytime between 11am and 4pm.
Procession of Light
Location: Silberrad Student Centre Plaza
Join us for the Procession of Light when we walk across the Colchester Campus on Holocaust Memorial Day, accompanied by musicians from the ‘Band of Fools’.
The procession will finish with a gathering outside the Lakeside Theatre for a moment of reflection with a poem read by Dr Marian De Vooght. Following our moment of reflection, please join us for refreshments baked by the Good Souls Bakery in the Lakeside Café afterwards.
UK Holocaust Memorial Day: 2022 Ceremony
The UK Holocaust Memorial Day 2022 ceremony will be streamed online. Register to watch the Ceremony online.
At 8pm, get ready to Light the Darkness. Households across the UK will be lighting candles or other electronic lights and safely putting them in their windows to:
Light a candle and put it in your window at 8pm on 27 January 2022 (if you are able to do so safely).
Holocaust Memorial Service
Please join us for our service, which includes Jewish memorial prayers for the departed. There will be readings and reflections in the spirit of peace and friendship. This service is open to all.
Please register your attendance in advance for the Holocaust Memorial Service.
Film screening and Panel discussion: Son of Saul
Location: Watch via Box of Broadcasts at any time - (University of Essex staff and students only) or join us for our in-person screening in Cine 10. (100 minutes)
Oscar-winning drama set in Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944. Saul Auslander is a Hungarian member of the Sonderkommando, a unit of death camp prisoners forced to work for the Germans as they exterminate their fellow prisoners. One day Saul sees the body of a young child who he believes to be his own son, and he becomes obsessed with rescuing it from suffering the fate of the other murdered prisoners.
Content warning: antisemitism, verbal abuse, physical violence, nudity, death.
Panel discussion following Son of Saul, 8.15pm - 9.00pm
Please join colleagues from the University of Essex for an online panel discussion following the screening of ‘Son of Saul’.
Register in advance for this panel discussion:
The Durban Diaries - 20 Years On
Our panel of speakers will recall what happened in South Africa 20 years ago from the perspective of a student participant in the NGO Forum and the author of the Durban Diaries, which records and recollects the events that continue to affect Jewish life today especially on campuses. We will also hear from leading members of the Jewish community in South Africa who will reflect on how the events from 20 years ago affect their lives today. Other speakers will focus on student experiences of contemporary antisemitism in UK campuses and on global advocacy efforts to combat antisemitism.
Please register in advance to attend this online event.
Words with… Professor Wendy Lower, author of ‘The Ravine: A family, a photograph, a Holocaust massacre revealed’
Please join us for our online ‘Words with…’ event with acclaimed historian Professor Wendy Lower. Professor Lower will talk about her book ‘The Ravine’ which explores an exceptionally rare image documenting the horrific final moment of the murder of a family during the Holocaust.
The terrible mass shootings in Poland and Ukraine are often neglected in studies of the Holocaust because the perpetrators were meticulously careful to avoid leaving any evidence of their actions. Professor Lower stumbled across one such piece of evidence – a photograph documenting the shooting of a mother and her children and the men who killed them – and has crafted a forensically brilliant and moving study that brings the larger horror of the genocide into focus.
Following the talk, Dr Joanna Rzepa from the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies will be ‘in conversation’ with Professor Lower about her research for ‘The Ravine’ and our audience will have a chance to ask questions.
Location: Lakeside Theatre
Join the award-winning Klezmer band for a special Holocaust Memorial Week performance - further details to be announced shortly.
Harwich and the Kindertransport
Location: Harwich Museum
Staff and students from the University of Essex are invited to visit the Harwich Museum to hear more about the role of the Port of Harwich, just 13 miles from Colchester, in the Kindertransport and to find out more about the Harwich Museum.
Mike Levy, Author and Chair of The Harwich Kindertransport Memorial and Learning Trust will give a talk on ‘Harwich and the Kindertransport’ and you will have a chance to ask your questions. David Whittle, Curator, will tell us more about the Harwich Museum and Nigel Spencer DL, Founder and Vice Chair of The Harwich Kindertransport Memorial and Learning Trust will tell us more about this fascinating project to create a new memorial statue and a supporting educational programme in Harwich.
The visit will finish with a short walk to the site of the new memorial.
Find out more about Mike’s talk, travel arrangements and to register for this event. Numbers are strictly limited for this visit.
Holocaust Memorial Day Annual Service of Commemoration
6pm-7pm, Civic Centre, Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea
Join us for our annual service of commemoration to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
There will be music, reflections, a presentation from a local secondary school, poetry and an address by Mr Bernie Graham.
Find out more via the Southend-on-Sea Borough Council.
Annual Tree planting ceremony at the junction of Carnarvon Road and Victoria Avenue, SS2 6LR.
Exhibitions - ‘Stars Without a Heaven Children in the Holocaust’ and ‘Pogrom - November 1938’
Holocaust Memorial Day Exhibitions will be on display at the Forum, Elmer Square, Southend, from Monday 10 January – Tuesday 25 January. The exhibitions will then be relocated at the Civic Centre for the service of commemoration on Wednesday 26th January.
Library and Cultural Services
Each year during Holocaust Memorial Week, a number of events take place, each reflecting a different theme. These events include talks, lectures, exhibitions, film screenings and more.
The first week with a specific theme was in 2009, when 'STAND UP TO HATRED' was chosen by the National Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. This theme was chosen to highlight the extreme consequences of hatred, and help us to look at our behaviour toward others and explore how each of us can help make our communities stronger and safer.
Over the years, other themes have included; disability and euthanasia, issues including prejudice, intolerance, discrimination and stigmatization, the experiences of the Roma and Sinti, the persecution of gay men under the Nazi regime, and the struggle for the human rights and dignity of LGBT people since 1945.
"The awareness that work for greater tolerance, for human dignity and human rights starts on our doorsteps, in our schools and in our local communities."