Date(s) - 27/01/2023
United Nations General Assembly has designated 27 January as International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.
The theme in 2023 will be “Home and Belonging”
This is particularly appropriate given the number of Ukrainian refugees who have been driven from their homes by what appears to be a genocidal and racist war waged by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Exploring how victims adjusted their ideas of “home” and “belonging” as they faced the violent, antisemitic onslaught during the Holocaust, and what “home” and “belonging” meant to survivors in the immediate post-war years will frame the outreach programme. In 1933, the Nazi Party took control of the government of Germany and put its ideology into practice, identifying who could claim Germany as home and who belonged. The process of definition and exclusion went beyond legislation and propaganda campaigns of disinformation and hate speech, to state-sanctioned acts of terror that destroyed people’s places of worship, livelihood and homes. The definition of who belonged and who did not, soon extended to all who fell within the expanding borders of the Nazi Reich and was reproduced by collaborator governments.
The Nazis and their racist collaborators rendered many millions homeless and stateless before and during the Second World War. We consider how those who sought refuge from 1933 negotiated the meaning of “home” and “belonging”. We consider those who survived by hiding and the impact of this experience on their sense of “home”. We will examine the ways in which survivors as displaced persons in displaced persons’ camps, and the children born in these camps, navigated the post-War world – a world in which the meaning of “home” and “belonging” had been challenged radically by the perpetrators of the Holocaust.
Holocaust remembrance and education that includes opportunities to develop a deeper appreciation of the victims and survivors and their agency, can inform our response to the plight of contemporary victims. Placing the victims and survivors in the centre of historical research, learning and remembrance illuminates the humanity of victims of atrocities today, and the impact of antisemitism fuelled by disinformation and the distortion of history. Focusing on the humanity of the victims prompts us to remember our humanity, and our responsibility to combat hate speech, combat antisemitism and prejudice – to do all we can to prevent genocide.