26 January 2000
For immediate release
Today's announcement by Prime Minister Tony Blair that 27 January is to become Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK has been applauded by the University of Sussex's Centre for German-Jewish Studies.
The centre, which also celebrates the opening of its new premises at the University's Library tomorrow (Thursday 27 January), was set up in 1994 to study the history and post-war experiences of German-Jewish communities.
The centre's current research projects include monitoring racist and Holocaust denial material on the Internet. Its collection of works by Arnold Daghani is, according to Professor Edward Timms, the centre's director, "probably the most important collection in any British university of artistic and commemorative works by a Holocaust survivor".
Lord Attenborough, Chancellor of the University of Sussex, will open the new premises for the German-Jewish Centre at 6pm in the University's Library. He will recall his early childhood experiences when his family welcomed two Jewish refugees into their home. Professor Edward Timms and Henri Soussan, a doctoral student based in the centre, will highlight the importance of teaching and research in this field at a British university.
The inauguration follows the University of Sussex winter graduation ceremony, at which an honorary doctorate will be conferred on Max Kochmann, chairman of the centre's support group.
Mr Kochmann, who was a refugee from Nazi oppression in the 1930s, said: "Like many others, I see the idea of a national Holocaust Memorial Day as an opportunity to encourage education and understanding of the factors, prejudice and racism that caused these developments to succeed."
"But the day should be for remembering all people who have been victims of oppression because they are 'different', wherever it is happening in the world. That's the lesson learned from the Holocaust and that lesson will continue."
The date chosen for Holocaust Memorial Day is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.
Notes for Editors
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