The Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) together with the government and the German embassy is set to hold a Holocaust Testimony Forum on 19-20 April at Lancaster House, London.
The two-day conference will bring together academics, educators, historians, descendants of Holocaust survivors and refugees.
With declining numbers of Holocaust survivors and refugees, the conference will facilitate conversations between world-renowned experts to re-evaluate and access the many ways Holocaust testimonies have been collected, displayed, and curated since the end of the Second World War, and reimagine their future usage.
In discussion will be thought leaders from across the globe, including Prof. Dan Stone, James Bulgin, Dov Forman and journalists Natasha Kaplinsky OBE, Daniel Finkelstein OBE, and Jonathan Freedland.
Also in attendance will be survivors Eva Clarke BEM and Jackie Young, and Kurt Marx BEM, who came to the UK on a Kindertransport.
The conference will seek to address four primary aims:
1. Shed light on the history of the collection of Holocaust testimonies – while many people use Holocaust testimonies for their research and/or to create educational resources, very little attention is normally given to the context in which the testimony was created. This conference will investigate how the gathering of testimonies has changed over time and how the methodology applied by different institutions has influenced the collected narratives.
2. Critically engage with the educational usage of testimonies over time – The forum will enable museum practitioners from across the globe to discuss how testimonies have been displayed in the past and how they can be used in the future. The conference will also explore the use of testimonies on social media platforms and other new media.
3. Explore Testimonies as a form of social action in fighting prejudice and antisemitism – the forum will explore how the creation and dissemination of Holocaust testimonies can be used in the fight against prejudice and antisemitism and how to encourage young people to engage with these testimonies.
4. Create dialogue among Holocaust testimony stakeholders and highlight good practice Launch a joint initiative to create a portal through which archives of testimony captured from UK based Holocaust survivors and refugees can be accessed. The forum will invite the various institutions to think collaboratively about the roles and responsibilities of being a custodian of Holocaust testimonies, aiming to create a platform for all major UK stakeholders. The AJR is the UK’s largest dedicated funder of Holocaust educational and remembrance programmes and for the last 20 years has collected Holocaust testimonies for its own AJR Refugee Voices Archive, which will feature in the portal.
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