Southampton Holocaust and Genocide Memorial Day 2013 Commemorations
At 6pm on January 24 2013, residents from Southampton and the region came together to mark Holocaust and Genocide Memorial Day and to mourn the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides.
The event, held at the Sir James Matthews building, Southampton Solent University, was opened by the City’s Mayor, Councillor Derek Burke. Southampton residents heard moving personal testimony from Holocaust survivor Harry Bibring as part of a visit organised by the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET)
Harry was born on 26th December 1925 in Vienna, Austria. After the Anschluss in 1938, Harry was arrested and forced, along with his family, to leave his flat and live in a house with 50 other Jewish women and children. Harry’s family intended to flee to Shanghai but Harry’s father was robbed on his way to buy the tickets.
In November 1940, Harry’s father died of a heart attack. His mother was deported to the death camp at Sobibor in Poland in 1942. Harry and his sister managed to flee to England on the Kindertransport. When they arrived in they were greeted by Mr Landsman, who Harry’s father had arranged to act as their sponsor and had offered to shelter the children but it turned out there was no room for Harry and the two were separated.
Professor Tony Kushner, head of the Parkes Institute, said:
“It is a privilege for us to welcome Harry Bibring to our HMD event in Southampton and his testimony will remain a powerful reminder of the horrors so many experienced. We are grateful to the Holocaust Educational Trust for co-ordinating the visit and we hope that by hearing Harry’s testimony, it will encourage our students to learn from the lessons of the Holocaust and make a positive difference in their own lives.”
Harry’s testimony was followed by a presentation of the work of Tania Harvey, Yasmin Taylor and Natalia Kwiatkowska, students of Southampton’s Itchen Sixth Form College, who spoke of their responses to their own readings of Holocaust testimony.
The evening closed with a moving and emotional drama performance by Igor Hiszczynski, Zak Jalil, Ashley Racov and Jennifer Skeats of Southampton Solent University’s BA (Hons) Performance degree. The piece, “In the Vicinity of Karlsberg”, was inspired by the life and death of Karel Svenk and offered a powerful interpretation of the plight of Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
The event was organised by the Parkes Institute, University of Southampton and Southampton Solent University. The Parkes Institute is particularly grateful for the support of Southampton Solent University, whose support for HMD has been unwavering and extremely generous. The organisers would also like to thank the HET, Councillor Derek Burke and Southampton City Council. Harry Bibring’s involvement was made possible by the G. F. Forsey Fund, who generously supported Harry’s travel and accommodation costs. At Itchen College, Christian Scott and Shaun O’Toole continue to enthusiastically support Southampton’s HMD work, and the organisers look forward to working closely with Itchen College at future events.
For more information on this and future HMD events in Southampton, please contact Dr Tom Plant at email@example.com.