History

The Dora Love Prize

Dora Love

A Holocaust Survivor

Schools from Essex and Suffolk come together every year for the culmination of the Dora Love prize.

Dora Love, a Holocaust survivor, spent much of her life raising awareness that the attitudes which made the Holocaust possible – intolerance, discrimination and outright hatred of those who are regarded as ‘different' for whatever reason, are still alive all around us. So, in this sense, the Holocaust is not a singular or isolated event.

Dora Love died on 26 October 2011, but the Dora Love Prize will continue her work. It will be awarded each year for the best Holocaust awareness project by an individual pupil or group of pupils of a school in Essex or Suffolk – primary, secondary or sixth-form college.

The prize goes to the project which expresses best that which was most important to Dora Love: speaking up against hatred wherever it occurs, never forgetting the ultimate consequence of seemingly small acts of discrimination and developing a sense of personal responsibility.

The first Dora Love Prize was awarded in January 2013, and the Dora Love Prize 2022 will be a very special occasion as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Prize. The number of students taking part in the Prize has grown over the past 10 years and during this time, 48 different schools and over 1,000 students have taken and many schools have made the Dora Love Prize a permanent part of their school year.

The prize is presented during the annual University of Essex Holocaust Memorial Week.

The Dora Love Prize 2023

Early preparations are underway for the 2022-23 Dora Love Prize, with an on-campus induction day planned for January 2023 and the culminating Prize evening currently scheduled for June 2023. We will be in touch with schools in September 2022. If you have any questions, please contact Hannah Onslow at hannah.onslow@essex.ac.uk.

Ten years of being a "beacon of hope"

In 2022 the Dora Love Prize celebrated its tenth anniversary, was praised by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust as being a “beacon of hope”, and for the first time welcomed a school from outside the UK. Congratulations to the 2022 winners, the Newmarket Academy in Suffolk, and our runners-ip,  The Sandon School in Chelmsford and Collingwood School in West Vancouver, Canada, the first international school to take part.

 

Changing minds and changing lives

The Dora Love Prize gives young people unforgettable experiences and the confidence to make positive change in the world around them. It continues to influence and inspire them long after they leave school. But don’t just take our word for it. 

What the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust says

“Since its launch the Dora Love Prize has transformed Holocaust education in the schools it works with.

“It is a powerful and vitally important resource that gives young people the understanding, empathy and confidence to actively challenge hatred and discrimination they see in the world around them.

“The involvement of the late Dora Love and Frank Bright, both of whom survived the Holocaust as children, gives students a unique opportunity to hear first-hand of the horrors endured by those who lived through this terrible moment in world history.

“Most remarkable of all is its ability and commitment to go further and look at the experiences of all those who were marginalised and murdered by the Nazis and in other genocides, without losing sight of the origin of the Holocaust and its significance for the Jewish community.”

“In a world in which we sadly still witness marginalisation, discrimination and hatred of those termed ‘others’ the Dora Love Prize is a beacon of hope, a tool that empowers the next generation to believe they can make the world a better place.”

Olivia Marks-Woldman OBE, Chief Executive of the UK Holocaust Memorial Day Trust

What schoolchildren say 

“The experience really opens your eyes to the world around you and teaches you skills which the curriculum does not. I believe it is a valuable experience.”

Esme, Northgate High School pupil

“I learned the impact one person can have. It changed the way I think and act. Dora Love holds a special place in my school memories, and it shaped me both as a person and as a history nerd.”

Clarissa, The Gilberd School pupil

“The Dora Love prize is an incredible experience.”

Isobel, Northgate High School pupil

“I learnt and became more aware of how we as humans need to come together and unite against prejudice.”

Lucy, Northgate High School pupil

“I learned the importance of community. It teaches students important life lessons.”

Esme, The Gilberd School pupil

“It was a great thing to be part of and it was amazing when we met Frank Bright. It inspired me to learn more. It opens your eyes into issues in the world and learning about them and wanting to help feels amazing.”

Akshara, Northgate High School pupil

“This made me choose history as a GCSE subject.”

Ashraf, Northgate High School pupil

What teachers say 

“The Dora Love Prize is a call for students to act, not to merely be passive recipients of information from expert speakers, students are expected to use their newfound knowledge and understanding to make their community a better place for all.

“Involvement in the Dora Love Prize has enriched our curriculum and made it more responsive to student voice. In addition, we have seen many students grow in confidence as they come to understand that they can become the force for change that they want to see in their school and local community.”

Dale Banham, Deputy Headteacher, Northgate High School & Sixth Form Centre, Ipswich

“The Dora Love Prize inspires our students as it gives them the opportunity to critically engage with the world around them and reflect upon the prejudices and discrimination that still exist today. It has provided us with an opportunity to not only enrich our curriculum with a deeper understanding of the Holocaust, but also connect this past tragedy with the present.”

Sophie Foster- Subject Lead for History at the Gilberd School

“Entering the Dora Love Prize will further strengthen our students’ and school’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion which is a fundamental pillar of our school community in addition to reinforcing holocaust awareness.”

Ben Lane, Socials and English Teacher, Collingwood High School, West Vancouver, Canada

Students from Ormiston Sudbury Academy)
Students from Ormiston Sudbury Academy

 

Dora Love (1923-2011)

Dora Love was born on 21 May 1923 in the small town of Plunge in western Lithuania, the third of four children of Hirsch and Jetta Rabinowitz. Her father owned a successful porcelain and glass business, and in 1924 the family moved to nearby Memel on the Baltic Sea. Four days after her graduation from the German lyceum in Memel, in March 1939, the German Wehrmacht occupied the Memelland, making it part of Hitler’s Greater German Empire. Dora, her sister and one of her brothers were hurriedly smuggled out of the Memelland into Lithuania where she was re-united with the rest of her family in the little town of Šiauliai (Schaulen).

In June 1941, the Germans marched into Lithuania as part of their war against the Soviet Union. The SS quickly rounded up all Jews and crammed them into a Jewish ghetto set up in Schaulen. The ghetto inhabitants had to do forced labour, and in late 1943, when the ghetto was cleared, most of the inhabitants were transported, in cattle trains, to Stutthof concentration camp near Danzig. It was here that Dora experienced what she calls 'the depth of inhumanity' – her brother, her sister and her mother did not survive the inhuman and brutal conditions in the camp.

Dora survived, and in late April 1945, with Soviet troops advancing, she was one of the prisoners who were sent in small boats westwards across the Baltic Sea. Many of the prisoners died along the way; Dora was one of the few who reached the shores of Schleswig-Holstein after seven and a half days drifting across the Baltic Sea without food or water. She was found by British troops. Among them was her future husband, Frank Love, whom she married in January 1946.

After her recovery, Dora stayed in Germany until 1948, working first for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) and then the American Joint Distribution Committee (AJDC), 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 1950s, her husband’s work took her to South Africa, where her two children were born. It was during this time, at the height of apartheid, that she began working as a teacher and giving talks on her experiences under the Nazi regime. She later settled in Colchester where she continued in her efforts to educate younger generations about the Holocaust.

 

Dora Love's poems

'After Stutthof Concentration Camp What Hope?' is a collection of poems written by Dora Love in 1945, in the period following her survival of Stutthof concentration camp. Dora had been diagnosed with tuberculosis and was kept in isolation.

During this time she was visited regularly by Frank Love, a Public Saftey Officer working for the British Army, who she would later marry. Frank gave her a few pens and pieces of paper which Dora used to write down poems. Frank kept a number of these and many years later they were collected together and eventually published in 2010.

'After Stutthof Concentration Camp What Hope?' is available from Red Lion Bookstore, High Street, Colchester, priced £6.99. Proceeds from the sale of the book will go toward the Dora Love Prize.

 

Dora Love Prize winners

2022

The tenth Dora Love Prize was won by Newmarket Academy in Suffolk. Runners-up prizes were awarded to The Sandon School in Chelmsford and Collingwood School in West Vancouver, Canada, the first international school to take part.

2021

The ninth Dora Love Prize was won by Northgate High School and SET Saxmundham.

2020

The eigth Dora Love prize was won by the Colchester County High School for Girls. The two runners up were Northgate High School in Ipswich, and SET Saxmundham School. 

2019

The seventh Dora Love prize was won jointly by two winning schools. The two winning schools were Saxmundham Free School and Colchester Royal Grammar School.

2018

The sixth Dora Love Prize was won jointly by students from Alde Valley Academy and East Bergholt High School.

2017

The fifth Dora Love Prize was won jointly by students from Sandon School, Chelmsford and William Edwards School, Grays.

2015

The third Dora Love Prize was won by students from St Bernard's High School, Westcliff-on-Sea.

2014

The second Dora Love Prize was won by students from Northgate High School, Ipswich.

2013

2013

The first Dora Love Prize was awarded in January 2013 to Year 9 students from Farlingaye High School in Woodbridge for their project More Than Just a Number.

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Holocaust Memorial Week

Every year, the University of Essex presents a week-long programme of events to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, and explore discrimination that still exists today.

Learn about Holocaust Memorial Week at Essex
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Rainer Schulze