Fri 8 Jul 22
A project inspired by the experiences of a World War II refugee in Newmarket has won the tenth annual Dora Love Prize.
Students from Newmarket Academy were awarded the Prize this week by a panel of judges chaired by Janet Love, a former member of the South African parliament for the ANC and of the South African Human Rights Commission. Janet is the daughter of the late Dora Love - the Holocaust survivor and inspirational educator after whom the Prize is named.
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.
This year’s tenth-anniversary ceremony was especially poignant with the attendance of two Holocaust survivors: Frank Bright, the Patron of the Dora Love Prize, who had been made an MBE by the Queen earlier this year for services to Holocaust education, and Maurice Blik, a child survivor of Bergen-Belsen, now an internationally renowned sculptor, who had shared the story of his and his family’s persecution by the Nazis with the students at the induction day in January.
At the end of the Prize giving evening, Frank Bright handed over the cheques to the winning teams, proudly wearing his MBE.
For their winning project, the students from Newmarket worked with Suffolk Archives to research a group of refugees who fled Germany and used this material to produce a series of posters which were exhibited at Suffolk Archives, and created a geocache trail based on the memoirs of refugee Fritz Ball. The team also engaged local businesses, planned activities with Suffolk Refugee Support, and fundraised to get their project off the ground. The judges praised the team for their “ambitious” project which “has the potential to live on”.
Collingwood School’s entry was a multimedia exhibition and documentary reflecting on how discrimination and injustice can lead to genocide and drew powerful comparisons between the Holocaust and the treatment of Canada’s First Nations children in residential homes. The judges described this project as “very exciting and creative” which raised issues which many students in Britain had most likely never heard of before.
Pupils from Sandon School created a book about Dora Love and the Holocaust, in an age-appropriate way for children.
Professor Rainer Schulze, the founder of the Dora Love Prize, said afterwards: “The quality of all the projects submitted for the tenth anniversary Dora Love Prize was - again - outstanding, and the commitment, enthusiasm, and dedication of all students to stand up against discrimination and all forms of prejudice no matter against whom, was heart-warming and at the same time humbling and contagious. If they become tomorrow’s leaders without losing their drive and dedication, the world might actually eventually become a better place for everyone.”
Setting out the aims and principles of the Dora Love Prize, Professor Schulze emphasised: “The Dora Love Prize takes its cue from the Holocaust, the Nazi policy of systematic extermination of the Jews and the persecution of many other groups who the Nazis felt did not belong to the German national community. However, its reach is much wider: it asks students to develop projects that link what they have learned about the Holocaust with the world they live in and the discrimination, marginalisation, and possibly worse, of population groups today who are seen as "other" because of who or what they are. This can include antisemitism, anti-Gypsy racism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, racisms of any kind and the list goes on and on. The Prize is about knowledge/awareness, about creativity in addressing issues, and about dissemination, i.e. the reach of the project should go well beyond the group of students who developed it. It is a project that focuses on citizenship and democratic activism.”
Since it was founded in 2012, named after Holocaust survivor Dora Love, more than 50 schools from Essex and Suffolk have participated in the Prize at least once, and many participated over a number of years. More than 1,000 students in total have been involved and were inspired by the work they undertook.
Earlier, the Chief Executive of the UK Holocaust Memorial Day Trust had praised the Prize’s ability to teach beyond the Jewish experience and described it as a “beacon of hope.”
Professor Schulze was already looking forward to the next ten years: “I would like to see even more schools here in Essex and Suffolk embed the Dora Love Prize into their school calendar and build each year on their previous projects; I would like to see more schools from outside the UK sign up to the Dora Love Prize too, and I would like to see networks established where schools from our regions can discuss and interact with schools from outside the UK, and exchange views and experiences. Current events show that the Dora Love Prize is more important than ever, and the willingness of students to pick up on often tragic events shows that we should never underestimate their ability and willingness to stand up against all forms of hatred and discrimination.”