Bristol SU marks Holocaust Memorial Day

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By Maddy Russell, Second Year Politics and International Relations

Bristol SU, along with Bristol JSoc and the History Society, joined together to host an event to remember those who died in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides.

Bristol Student’s Union held its first Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony on Tuesday night to commemorate those who died in the Holocaust and to pay testament to the importance of remembering the lessons of history.

The event was coordinated by Sally Patterson, Equality, Liberation and Access Officer at Bristol SU and included accounts of the experiences of all the minority groups persecuted during the Holocaust.

Short addresses were given by the Presidents of JSoc, the LGBT+ network, the Disabled Students' Network and the BME Network, who described how their respective groups were persecuted and killed under the Nazi regime.

The keynote speaker was John Dobi, a Hungarian Holocaust survivor, who grew up in Budapest during Nazi occupation. Dobi spoke of his experiences of persecution as a Jewish child and the profound effect of the Nazis' anti-Semitic policies on himself and his family. He emphasized the importance of remembering history, through speech and education, to ensure that we never repeat the horrors of the past.

The overall message of the event aimed to focus on the broader issues of the dangers of all forms of identity-based prejudices and persecutions. It follows the recent publication of the highest ever recorded levels of anti-Semitism in the UK by the Community Security Trust.

'Prejudice is dangerous, and our job is to collectively protect all those who are vulnerable, especially those subject to identity-based discrimination.'

In a statement to Epigram, Sally Patterson said: 'I believe it is important for students to hear the narrative of both the Holocaust and also the persecution of other minority groups.

'Prejudice is dangerous, and our job is to collectively protect all those who are vulnerable, especially those subject to identity-based discrimination.'

The event was attended by nearly 300 students, as well as academics, staff and visitors. In his speech, Vice-Chancellor Hugh Brady spoke of the importance of learning from the past, to ensure the prevention of future atrocities. Brady highlighted the importance of tolerance and diversity at the University of Bristol and stated that the university would always remain committed to upholding these values.

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust chair, Laura Marks OBE said: 'This was probably the most inclusive Holocaust Memorial Day event I have ever attended.

'Hearing too about all of the other victims of the Nazis and subsequent genocides demonstrated to the students that we really must work together for a better and safer future.'

Featured image: Sally Patterson / Bristol SU


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