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Northampton remembers the Holocaust

The Errol Flynn Cinema is screening The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

The Errol Flynn Cinema website describes The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas as follows:

Adapted from John Boyne’s bestselling novel, The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas is a fictional story that offers a unique and powerful perspective on how prejudice, hatred and violence affect innocent people during wartime.

Told through the eyes of an eight-year-old German boy shielded from the reality of World War II, this unforgettable tale follows an unlikely friendship that forms between Bruno (Butterfield), the son of a Nazi commandant, and Shmuel (Scanlon), a Jewish boy held captive in a concentration camp.

Though a barbed-wire fence physically separates the two, their friendship grows and their lives become inescapably and tragically entwined. This is an enlightening, sobering and informative work for all generations of film goers.

Find out about tickets to The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas here

On Wednesday Dr Paul Jackson Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Northampton, a leading expert on right wing extremism, organised a number of speakers for Holocaust Memorial Day.

Dr Jackson has warned that people need to be aware of the normalisation of extreme attitudes in modern societies.

He said: “It is important to study and reflect on the history of the Holocaust, and what it tells us about how extreme attitudes can become seen as normal in modern societies.

“The University marks Holocaust Memorial Day every year, and we invite people from across Northampton to come and join us in an event reflecting on the past, and thinking about how which history remains relevant today.”

You can read Dr Jackson’s blog about Holocaust Memorial Day here

A number of guest speakers were due to appear at the event, including Aristotle Kallis, from Keele University, on the role of leaders and ideology, both during the Holocaust and in Yugoslavia in the 1990s. He is also an expert on the contemporary extreme right in Europe.

University of Northampton student, Siobhan Hyland, was due to be talking about her PhD research into anti-fascist campaigning in the 1980s and 1990s to identify and prosecute alleged Second World War criminals who came to the UK after 1945.

Siobhan Tatum was due to be talking about an oral history project she leads called Race Act 40 which focuses on how people in Wellingborough have promoted racial equality.

The day began with a stone-laying ceremony at the Anne Frank and Stephen Lawrence memorial tree, at Park Campus, followed by talks in Grendon Lecture Theatre.

The annual ceremony also took place at The Guildhall in the courtyard followed by a larger event in the evening where community groups gathered in The Great Hall for readings and speakers.

The Mayor of Northampton, Councillor Gareth Eales welcomed the gathering, followed by music, film, poetry and dance, ending with the blowing of the Shofar and memorial prayers, led by the Northampton Hebrew Congregation.

Other speakers included Julian Harrison from the Holocaust Memorial Trust, Northamptonshire Police Chief Inspector Dave Lawson and William Duncan, Chair of the Northampton Inter Faith Forum.

Councillor Anna King, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement and Community Safety said: “These events give us the opportunity to come together to honour survivors, remember the dead and reflect on some difficult questions about prejudice, persecution and suffering.

“It’s also a chance to remember victims of later genocides, including those in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur and reinforce the message that antisemitism and hate crime will not be tolerated.

“People of all ages and backgrounds are welcome to join us at both events to commemorate the day. This year’s theme focuses on the impact of words, and how they can make a difference for both good and evil.”

I'm the editor and owner of The NeneQuirer.

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