Holocaust Memorial Day 2017

Friday, 27 January 2017

The Holocaust Memorial event proved to be a thought provoking day for everyone at Blatchington Mill. Members of the Brighton and Hove community came to commemorate those affected by the Holocaust during the Second World War and the day carried additional messages of inclusion, equality and the celebration of difference.

The afternoon began with a string quintet from upper school students at Blatchington Mill who beautifully played a rendition of ‘Schindler’s List’ whilst the guests arrived to take their seats.  A meaningful speech was given by Ms King to a full house, explaining the importance of history for young people who have the responsibility of creating an enlightened future. This was followed by a presentation from some year 9 students about Dorit Oliver-Wolff, a holocaust survivor with a truly incredible story.

Among the many visitors was a group of primary school students from Carden Primary school who bravely gave a presentation to the audience of the Windmill Theatre and a symbolic drama performance took place from students of Hove Park School which captured the emotion of the afternoon well. Susan Kingsley addressed the students and visitors with an engaging and informative presentation about the Czech Torah Scrolls, while Maxine Lambert explained the plight of Gypsy and Roma people who were heavily affected by the Holocaust but appear to be lost in a forgotten pocket of history.

We have some incredible students here at Blatchington Mill who have inspiring stories and these were told through the medium of video; two students shared their ‘Moving Stories’ with the audience, which were poignant and thought provoking pieces about their journey to England and their experience of finding their feet in a foreign country.

The latter half of the afternoon consisted of talks and presentations from Asmat Roe, a Ugandan Refugee and a talk from Brian Huberman who told the incredible and difficult life-story of his father Alfred Huberman - a Polish Jew who survived the concentration camps at just 14 years old and eventually made it to England as a refugee.

Overall, the events of the day yesterday were to engage in a process of collective memory in order to not forget the struggles of those who were considered ‘lesser humans’ in society and ensure that these terrible events in history are never again repeated. The message was one of togetherness and equality, ending on a positive note. Ms King said:

‘This event is rooted in a commitment to values and principles that our school promotes - concern for our fellow human beings, the recognition of the inalienable rights of others to be treated with dignity and respect, the importance of collective memory – and the desire to create our modern world in an image of tolerance and respect.’

The day truly encapsulated the Blatchington Mill School motto, ‘Involvement, Achievement and Care’ which is most significant and everyone at Blatch would like to thank the Holocaust Memorial Trust and all visitors and students who participated and came to learn about Holocaust Memorial day.

Brian Huberman telling the story of his father Alfred Huberman
Students singing Kol Ha-Olam Kulo lead by Winston Pickett
Year 9 Students with The Mayor Peter West after giving a presentation in the Windmill Theatre