The University of Worcester is one of a number of organisations coming together in the City next week to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
The event in Worcester’s Guildhall on Thursday 27 January is being organised by Worcestershire Inter Faith Forum with support from the University, Platform Housing Group and Worcester City Council. It aims to raise awareness of conditions that led to tragedies of Holocaust and other genocides in history.
The Mayor of Worcester and other community and religious leaders, alongside students, will offer their contributions.
The ceremony will also welcome keynote speaker Dr Mindu Hornick MBE. Born in Czechoslovakia, as a young girl, Mindu miraculously survived both the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and a slave labour facility during World War Two. She has spent the last two decades educating audiences – especially young people – about the dangers of intolerance and growing levels of Islamophobia and anti-semitism in the world.
Mindu, aged 92, was recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours List for services to Holocaust education and commemoration; she works very closely with the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and Anne Frank Trust. Mindu has also been awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Worcester in recognition of her tireless work on community cohesion.
Professor David Green CBE DL, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive at the University, said: “The Holocaust, in which 6 million, mostly Jewish, men, women and children were systematically murdered, was the most terrible crime against humanity. Its evil is symbolised by the fact that babies born in the death camps were immediately murdered, on the grounds that they were Jewish.
“The University of Worcester was founded in 1946 to ‘win the peace through education’ just one year after the liberation of the camps by British, American and Russian troops. As a vital component of this work we have been marking Holocaust Memorial Day for many years. We are very pleased to be part of this city-wide event. In 2018, Auschwitz survivor and remarkable campaigner and educator, Mindu Hornick MBE, graciously accepted an Honorary Degree from the University. We are delighted that Mindu will be in Worcester again for this year’s Memorial event to spread the message that this must never happen again and that racism and antisemitism are truly evil and damage all humanity.”
Professor Green continued: “The University was honoured to be selected as one of just 80 UK locations for the Association of Jewish Refugees’ 80 Trees for 80 Years project, to honour people and places symbolising the enormous contribution made by Jewish refugees who escaped Nazi Europe. An oak tree has been planted at our St John’s Campus as a continuing symbol of hope, education and democracy and as a reminder to us all to never let hatred into our lives and to stand together against all forms of racism and discrimination.”
Holocaust Memorial Day is marked each year; each year a different theme is used to highlight the importance of the effect of past genocides on society today. This year’s theme is ‘One Day’.
Tom Piotrowski, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Platform Housing Group, said: “This year’s theme of the Holocaust Memorial Day reminds that while putting aside One Day to remember the victims of Holocaust and other genocides, we have to be vigilant about conditions leading to such tragedies every day, not only one day within a year. As a housing association we stand firmly by our commitment to challenge hatred and intolerance in all forms. We understand that whilst our main focus is on providing homes, we also help build communities, promote dialogue and ensure people from different backgrounds get on with each other.”
Holocaust Memorial Day 2022 marks the 77th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz which remains probably the most widely recognisable symbol of failure of human nature but it certainly was not the only time when genocide was committed. The event will explore how genocidal regimes throughout history have deliberately fractured societies by marginalising certain groups, and how these tactics can be challenged by individuals standing together with their neighbours, and speaking out against oppression.
The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust – or HMDT – is the charity that promotes and supports Holocaust Memorial Day, HMD. 27 January is the day set aside to remember the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, and the millions of people killed in Nazi Persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. 27 January marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.
The Mayor of Worcester, Councillor Stephen Hodgson, said: “It will be a great honour to attend this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day event and to listen to the moving personal testimony of Dr Mindu Hornick. It is essential that we commemorate and remember all those who suffered and died in the Holocaust – and that we all take this opportunity to vow that this will never be allowed to happen again.”
For anyone interested in attending the event, a limited number of free tickets are available on a first-come first-served basis. Tickets are available from the Tourist Information Office at the Guildhall or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.