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hamish williams

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holocaust memorial day

The 27th January commemorates Holocaust Memorial Day. The Holocaust was the unique genocide perpetrated by Nazi Germany, killed 6 million Jews and 5 million other people including disabled and LGBTQ individuals, people of Roma descent and political opponents. It is important that UEASU recognises this day as the Holocaust should not be forgotten. 

In October 2018, I visited the Auschwitz camps with the Lessons From Auschwitz Project organised through the Union of Jewish Students, which was a difficult but rewarding experience. Prior to my visit I heard the testimony of a survivor which I will continue to reflect upon. As I reflect I think about horrors that affected the victims of the Holocaust and the changes that the Jewish community faced is still impossible to comprehend. The visit changed my perspective of the Holocaust but it is a place that should be visited and remembered. 

Our Jewish society will be holding a Holocaust Survival Speaker on the 12th February which allows you the opportunity to listen and learn from their experiences of growing up during WWII. 

At our last Union Council, our Jewish Society proposed the adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism which was passed which is a strong step forward in uniting against antisemitism here at UEA. 

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” 

This year's theme is Stand Together. It explores how genocidal regimes throughout history have deliberately fractured societies by marginalising certain groups, and how these tactics can be challenged by individuals standing together with their neighbours, and speaking out against oppression. 

The Butterfly 

He was the last. Truly the last. 

Such yellowness was bitter and blinding 

Like the sun’s tear shattered on stone. 

That was his true colour. 

And how easily he climbed, and how high, 

Certainly, climbing, he wanted 

To kiss the last of my world. 


I have been here for seven weeks, 


Who loved me have found me, 

And the branches also of the white chestnut in the yard. 

But I haven’t seen a butterfly here. 

The last one was the last one. 

There are no butterflies, here, in the ghetto. 


by Pavel Friedmann (Theresienstadt, 4 June 1942) Pavel Friedmann, ‘The Butterfly’ in Ed. Hilda Schiff, Holocaust Poetry (New York: St Martin’s Press, 1995), p. 25


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