Bristol City Hall Holocaust Memorial Commemoration, 2018

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust has identified ‘the power of words’ as a unifying theme for the 2018 remembrance of millions killed in the Holocaust, under Nazi persecution and in the later genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. Bristol will mark Holocaust Memorial Day with a range of locally-organised events, including a civic commemoration at City Hall on Friday 26 January from 2-5pm (registration 1.30pm).

The steering group responsible for the City Hall event has been meeting for several months, with the aim of developing a programme which is inclusive and relevant for people of different generations and varied faiths. Keynote speakers will be Thangam Debbonaire MP and Bettina Cohn. Thangam’s talk is titled ‘Then and Now: Holocaust  Memorial Day and the Power of Words’. Bettina Cohn is a 98-year-old survivor who grew up in Germany before the war. Her father’s bookshop was attacked on Kristallnacht (November 1938), and Bettina and her two brothers escaped from Germany soon afterwards. Both her parents died in the Holocaust. Her memories will be delivered through a short interview, and a longer written piece describing her family’s experience of Kristallnacht and its aftermath. A short interactive session will follow, enabling small groups to reflect on ‘Words – creative or destructive?’.

In the second half of the programme varied presentations will be made by young people who have learned about the Holocaust very recently. Hanan Braha from St Brendan’s Sixth Form College will present her own film about ‘My visit to Auschwitz’, and other sixth formers will deliver their responses to the Holocaust through dance as well as words. The Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, will speak before a closing ceremony led by Father Richard Mackay.

The HMD steering group is chaired this year by Marian Liebmann of Redland Quaker Meeting. There is an opportunity for other Friends to play an active role in the City Hall event by helping to facilitate the small group discussions. If you would like to volunteer  for this role, please contact Marian as soon as possible by email at her address on the Redland List or by phone on 0117 9423712.

Calendar of Holocaust Memorial Events 2018

Monday 15 January, 7.15-9.30pm – About Holocaust Memorial Day (Council of Christians and Jews, Avon branch), speaker Marian Liebmann, at Bristol University Multifaith Chaplaincy, 1 Woodland Road, BS8 1AU.

Friday 26 January, 2-5pm – Bristol City Hall Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration (see  above).

Saturday 27 January, 2pm and 7pm (£8/£5), with meal at 5pm (£10) – Brundibar by Hans Krasa, children’s opera performed in Terezin, accompanied by art exhibition, at Victoria Methodist Church, Whiteladies Road, BS8 1NU.

Sunday 29 January to 3 February, 10pm – The Diary of Anne Frank, at Alma Tavern and Theatre, 18-20 Alma Vale Road, Clifton BS8 2HY.

Tuesday 13 February, 7.30pm (£3/£4/£6) – DAVAR: No Poetry after Auschwitz, talk by Philip Lyons, at Redland Green Bowling Club, Redland Green Road, BS6 7HE.

Sunday 18 February, 4-6pm – joint Christian/Jewish Commemorative Service with readings and songs, followed by light refreshments:  Words: The Power to Destroy or to Heal, at St Nicholas of Tolentino Church, Lawfords Gate, BS5 0RE