The Lake District Holocaust Project,
The Holocaust Commission,
Nazi Persecution of LGBT People
Support the work of the Lake District Holocaust Project
The following information concerns the Holocaust Commission.
This has been set up by Prime Minister David Cameron to look at the future for Holocaust education, commemoration and activities since many of the Survivors and eye witnesses are passing away.
The commission has the following form that is relatively simple to complete. It , would be really helpful if you could find time to complete it, and offer a mention to The Lake District Holocaust Project in Windermere and the Lake District.
Those of us associated to the Lake District Holocaust Project (LDHP) feel it is important that the project is brought to the notice of the commission as an example of vital Holocaust commemoration and education that is being carried out across the country.
The base in Windermere Library includes "From Auschwitz to Ambleside" (www.anotherspace.org.uk/a2a/). This is a permanent exhibition that tells the unique story of the three hundred child Holocaust Survivors who came to the Lake District directly from Eastern Europe in 1945.
The unique nature of the relationship between the Lake District and the child Holocaust Survivors ensures that the connection between the area and the Holocaust is a living legacy. Their story is told in the context of the people of the area that welcomed them and the locations and descendants of the child survivors and the local community are still very much with us.
The archive, education and cultural work that all those associated with the LDHP are carrying out is unique to the region and to the country. Working with the Lakes School (formerly Calgarth Estate), primary and secondary schools within the South Lakes, the local community, visitors and partnerships, the project may well represent an example for the future for Holocaust Commemoration. Indeed, we are now working with schools outside the region.
A permanent exhibition has been on display since 2010 and was created in response to the BBC One television programme that the LDHP was deeply involved in, namely "The Orphans Who Survived The Concentration Camps".
The programme told the story of the children, where they came from, how they came to be in the Lakes, and what happened to them afterwards.
Although the newly extended exhibition has only been open since June 2013, it has already attracted about 15,000 visitors from 25 countries around the world and within the Lake District and UK.
It is supported by 45 Aid Society, Second Generation, South Lakeland District Council, Cumbria County Council, Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and individual donations and supporters.
The plans to expand and promote the project both physically and conceptually are very ambitious, incredibly worthwhile and incredibly important for the future. This initiative and living legacy to these remarkable children is sustained with the support of many, many people including the Boys, their families, and both the local and international communities.
We owe it to the Boys that their lasting and inspirational legacy continues to grow, and that their story is known far and wide.
Newly-announced UK government-backed
Holocaust Memorial Day, marking the liberation of prisoners from the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and the Nazi death machine generally, as well as earlier and more recent genocides across the world, is being observed in Britain (27 January 2014).
This year the focus is on the multitude of journeys that people were forced to undertake, in fear of what would be found at the end. But also the journeys of hope of refugees, survivors and resisters.
The horrific sufferings of the Jews, black people, LGBT persons, disabled people, the Roma and many other groups and persons singled out for deliberate, systematic slaughter because of their ethnic and other characteristics, will be commemorated.
Campaigners are also keen that genocides in Cambodia and elsewhere are remembered.
There is growing pressure for the worldwide recognition of the Armenian Genocide, 1915-1923, too.
Actress Helena Bonham Carter, broadcaster Natasha Kaplinsky and Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis are among those who have been chosen to sit on a newly-announced UK government-backed Commission on the Holocaust.
It has been tasked with looking at what should be done to establish a permanent memorial to the Nazi holocaust.
The Commission is due to report its findings in time for the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, in April 2015.
Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, Karen Pollock MBE, commented: “There can be no more fitting assurance to survivors to know that, as their number sadly declines, we are looking ahead to ensure that there is a permanent and fitting memorial to the Holocaust in this country. The Prime Minister’s national Holocaust Commission is a significant step in achieving that goal.”
* More about HMD on Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/hmd
* Holocaust Memorial Day Trust: http://www.hmd.org.uk
* Holocaust Educational Trust: http://www.het.org.uk/
* More on the Armenian Genocide from
Holocaust Memorial Day: The lessons we should learn from the Nazi persecution of gay people
PinkNews publisher Benjamin Cohen reflects on the persecution of gay people by the Nazis as Britain marks Holocaust Memorial Day.
If I was alive 75-year-ago and living in Berlin and not London, my outlook would not have been looking good and not just because I’m Jewish. Like some of those who found themselves in concentration camps, I also have a disability, I am member of a trade union and perhaps more pertinently, like many of the people reading this article, I am gay.
2014 marks the 80th anniversary of the creation of a list of homosexuals, ordered by Hitler, who would later find themselves persecuted. In total, during their time in power, the Nazis arrested 100,000 people for homosexuality, imprisoning half of them including up to 15,000 in concentration camps. Many of those imprisoned died, some after sickening experiments by scientists trying to find the ‘cure’ for homosexuality.
Unfortunately, when the allies liberated the concentration camps, many of the gay people who were imprisoned were not set free. Instead they were transferred to prisons, then under the control of the allied forces. Their crime, homosexuality, something outlawed before the Nazis took power, remained on the statute book until 1968 in East Germany and 1969 in West Germany. Unlike other victims of Nazi persecution, they were not offered reparations and it took until 2002 for the German government to officially apologise for the Nazis’ crimes against gay people. Today memorials to the Nazi persecution of the gay community are found in Berlin, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Sydney and since earlier this month, in Tel Aviv.
Holocaust Memorial Day, marked today is the opportunity to remember all of the victims of Nazi persecution. The Nazi’s rule of terror was an era that witnessed the single worst example of misery that humanity has ever inflicted on itself. Today in my view, also provides moment of reflection for what happened still in our collective lifetimes and an opportunity to galvanise us never to allow the same persecution of minority groups happen again.
I believe that as a community, should use today as an opportunity for us to consider, given how many countries around the world continue to criminalise or discriminate LGBT people, how unchallenged prejudice can quickly and dramatically escalate into unimaginable brutality.
What happened during the Holocaust also stands to us as a warning to all of us that societies can go backwards as well as forwards. In the 1920s, Berlin was one of the gay capitals of the world, where Germany’s prohibition on homosexuality was widely ignored by the police and a large, open, flourishing gay community was in existence. Just before the Nazis took power, the German legislature was poised to repeal the legal ban of male homosexuality. It took a political climate that had nothing to do with gay people to radically alter the treatment of this minority group. The Nazis drew on deep rooted, latent homophobia within the population to stigmatise gay people to justify to ordinarily rational people the single largest act of persecution on the basis of sexuality that the world has ever seen, just as it engulfed the largest single act of anti-semitism on the planet.
What worries me is that eight decades on, as some countries such as Britain have moved forward so much with gay equality, other countries are moving backwards or have yet to move at all. Russia, which legalised homosexuality twenty years ago last year introduced draconian laws that severely clamp down on the rights of gay people and their families.
As a gay man, there are though, far worse places where I could live than Russia. In the majority of the countries of the Commonwealth, including 11 where our Queen is head of state, homosexuality is illegal and can result in life imprisonment. Even worse, there are five countries that routinely execute people for being gay. It seems incredible that in 2014, 78 countries around the world would either imprison me or put me to death simply for being gay, something that I chose no more than the accident of my birth than means that I am a Jew. It is clear that when it comes to gay people, at the least, there are still many lessons from the past that need to be learnt.
Benjamin Cohen is the publisher of PinkNews. He Tweets @benjamincohen
Variants of this article have previously appeared in Gay Times (GT) and the Jewish Chronicle