Updated: Dec 3, 2022
Remembering and Rethinking:
The International Forum on
Collecting, Preserving, and Disseminating Holocaust Testimonies
London, Lancaster House, 19 and 20 April 2023
When I interviewed human rights activist Helen Bamber OBE in 2003, she told me that when she was working with survivors, as part of the Jewish Relief Unit, after the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, she felt that her main task was to listen to the stories of the survivors, to become their witness and to re-assure them that their stories will be told. In describing her own role in Belsen, she captured the essence of any Holocaust Survivors’ Testimony archive, such as the AJR Refugee Voices Testimony Archive, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2023.
Many individuals and archives have since the end of WW2 collected, archived, and disseminated Holocaust testimonies, in different cultural settings and with different methodologies. These testimonies are becoming more important, as the number of survivors is dwindeling, antisemitism is rising and the voices of Holocaust distorters are becoming louder. Each educational institutions dealing with the Holocaust is asking themselves what the best ways are to bring their testimonies to larger audiences and how to increase the impact of their testimonies. New technology and the use of Social Media is presenting new avenues for the use of testimonies but also creating ethical challenges and increased potential for misuse of testimonies.
To deal with these pressing questions, the Association of Jewish Refugees together with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and the UK Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues is planning a special conference entitled: Remembering and Rethinking: The International Forum on Collecting, Preserving, and Disseminating Holocaust Testimonies. The Forum which will take place in London in the week of Yom Hashoah, on the 19th and 20th of April 2023 at Lancaster House. Get tickets here.
This Forum will bring together archives, museums, and other institutions which hold collections of Holocaust testimonies and/or feature Holocaust testimonies in their spaces and educational recourses (offline and online). World-renown experts will re-evaluate and access the many ways Holocaust testimonies have been collected, displayed, and curated. The conference, featuring a wide-ranging programme, will be a forum that will create dialogue between various stakeholders: archive professionals, curators, educators, film makers, and oral historians, and next generations of refugees and survivors whose parents and/or grandparents have given their testimony, and the general public.
We very much hope you can join us for this timely and important gathering.
Dr Bea Lewkowicz, Director AJR Refugee Voices Testimony Archive