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University of London marks Holocaust Memorial Day


The University of London marks Holocaust Memorial Day today (27 January).  We remember all those killed for who they were and stand against prejudice and hatred in the world today. 

Senate House lit up in purple to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2022

The University of London marks Holocaust Memorial Day today (27 January).

Holocaust Memorial Day commemorates the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis, along with millions of other people killed under Nazi persecution. It also memorialises those murdered in more recent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur. We remember all those killed for who they were and stand against prejudice and hatred in the world today. 

Senate House will be illuminated in purple from dusk this evening as part of "Light the Darkness," a nationwide observance.

The University of London is home to historical records related to the period of the Holocaust and supports the work of academics from other universities and researchers in the study of those materials.

Dr Clare George is Archivist for the Martin Miller and Hannah Norbert-Miller Trust and the Research Centre for German & Austrian Exile Studies in the Institute of Languages, Cultures and Societies, School of Advanced Study. She explains the significance of the archives held at Senate House Library as well as recent additions to the collection:

"Preserving the memory of the refugees who left Europe to escape Nazi persecution is a key aim of an archives project by the Research Centre for German & Austrian Exile Studies, which is funded by the Martin Miller and Hannah Norbert-Miller Trust. For the past ten years the Trust has funded an archivist post to catalogue and promote the records of refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe with a public engagement programme of talks, exhibitions, theatre performances and guided walks around Bloomsbury.

"The collections, which are held at SHL, are particularly strong in documenting refugees known for their literary, cultural, and political activities, and recent additions to the archives have built on this strength. In 2022 they included the correspondence of Wolfgang von Einsiedel, literary editor of one of Germany’s best-known liberal newspapers until 1933, who ridiculed Hitler in print and tried to ensure the paper retained a free and critical voice before he fled to the UK in 1937.

"Last year also saw the donation of 22 oral history interview recordings with exile musicians, artists, and writers such as Judith Kerr, presented by the widow of long-serving Exile Centre member Richard Dove, who died earlier in the year.

"Other donations in recent years have included the notes and letters of Josef Berger, an Austrian architect of Jewish heritage, documenting his internment as an enemy alien on the Isle of Man in 1940; the diaries of Ernst Philipp, a maths graduate and poet who was sent to Dachau on Kristallnacht in November 1938 and later lost his mother and sister in the Holocaust; and the papers of Simon Guttmann, a German writer and journalist who founded the first picture agency in Germany in the 1920s and edited anti-Nazi propaganda material for the Political Warfare Executive in London during the war.

"The archives provide a wealth of information on the experience of exiles from Nazi-occupied Europe, and they are now secure and accessible to researchers from all over the world. Thanks to the invaluable support of the Miller Trust, their preservation will help to ensure that the voices of those who suffered the trauma of fascist persecution are not forgotten."

Holocaust-related resources are available on the Centre's website, including information on publications, events, and podcasts. You can access part of the archives through an Audio Walk created in conjunction with the Being Human Festival. The walk reflects on the unique history of the Bloomsbury area, which attracted many refugees from Nazi Europe during the 1930s.

On Monday 30 January, the Birkbeck Institute for the Study of Antisemitism will host a Holocaust Memorial Lecture titled “Holocaust Memory in Eastern Europe.” Jelena Subotic, Professor in the Department of Political Science at Georgia State University, will explore the ways in which the memory of the Holocaust in post-communist Eastern Europe has been used to represent other types of historical crimes. Visit the Birkbeck website to register for this free in-person event.