16 January 2004
Holocaust Memorial Day highlights horrors of genocide and plight of refugees
The deadly dangers that drive refugees to flee their homelands - and the awful consequences if they can't - will be brought sharply into focus at this year's Holocaust Memorial Day at the University of Sussex.
The free event, organised by the University's Centre for German Jewish Studies and open to university members and the public, follows this year's national theme of genocide and the refugee experience, and will be held on Wednesday 28 January, from 2pm to 7pm.
A series of special events will reflect on the lessons still to be learnt by international - and local - communities, despite the impact of the Holocaust and, more recently, the atrocities witnessed in Rwanda.
Key speakers will include Krakow ghetto survivor Janina Fischler-Martinho, author of the Holocaust memoir Have You Seen My Little Sister?, who will give a personal account of her experiences. Janina fled the ghetto as a young child with the help of her older brother, and fended for herself in the countryside, finally escaping to Britain in 1946. She became a schoolteacher and remained silent about her traumatic past, until 50 years later, when she decided to tell her story.
Fazil Kawani, Director of Communications for the Refugee Council, is another keynote speaker, who will talk on the subject of current British Government policy on asylum seekers. British policy on asylum seekers and refugees is also the theme of a film presentation by University of Sussex final-year media studies students, entitled From Sangatte To Saltdean, which tells the story of recent local reactions to plans for a short-stay hotel for refugees in Saltdean, near Brighton. The Aegis Trust, which works with genocide survivors, will also present a short film on Rwanda.
Other events will include a lecture by Seattle-based artist Akiva Segan on the Under the Wings of God art series portraying victims of Nazism, Fascism and contemporary race hate victims. Segan directs the International Shoah Art Museum (online) and Holocaust Education through Art
Chana Moshenska, director of educational programmes at the German-Jewish Studies Centre and event organiser, says: "We need to commemorate the Holocaust every year to remind ourselves that racism and xenophobia continue across the world, including Brighton. Hearing Holocaust survivors speak reminds us that we must listen to refugees in Britain today, and make sure that such horrors never happen again."
Holocaust Memorial Day, which is a national event, is actually on Tuesday, 27 January, and marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
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