“When I write I can shake off all my cares; my sorrow disappears; my spirits are revived [...] I wish to go on living even after my death.”
These are the fateful and evocative words of the young diarist Anne Frank, written whilst in hiding in a secret annex in Amsterdam, away from the prying eyes of the Nazis. They are particularly appropriate this year as we commemorate and remember the holocaust through the theme: the power of words. Words are probably the most formidable force available to humankind, and without a doubt a powerful way of commemorating the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. Although Anne Frank never survived the Holocaust, her words have lived on after her.
So this year, it is through words that we shall remember those who perished. As Holocaust survivors wither in strength and number it is the job of our generation to keep on commemorating and remembering all those who were taken by hatred and prejudice.
This year, the Guild of Students will be holding a ceremony in Mermaid Square on Wednesday 24th January at 5:30pm to do exactly that – commemorate and remember – and I hope that you all attend. At the ceremony, and around campus next week, we will have special stalls whereby everyone – students, staff and visitors – will be invited to write on a ‘postcard’ to either respond to the experiences of people persecuted during the holocaust and subsequent genocides, or just to write a message of commemoration.
Holocaust Memorial Day itself is Saturday 27th January and I strongly encourage you wherever you may be to take a minute or two of silence on Saturday to reflect and honour those who were taken.
Shimon, Anti-Racism & Anti Fascism Officer