Saturday, January 27th 2001 is the first Holocaust Memorial Day, which is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Berkenau. The day will be marked by a national ceremony held at Westminster Central Hall, and other events are planned across the UK Holocaust Memorial Day provides an opportunity to ensure that the crimes against humanity committed during the Nazi period are never forgotten, and the relevance of the Holocaust for each new generation is understood.
To mark the significance of the day Hartlepool youth service have employed two artists through Cleveland Arts, Adrian Moule and Bob Beagrie, who have carried out a series of workshops with art students at Hartlepool Sixth Form College. The workshops have focussed on raising awareness of the holocaust as a single historical event, but have also sought to highlight how horrendous crimes, racism, victimisation and social violence continue to threaten the lives of many people living today.
The workshops have drawn upon the art and literature of holocaust survivors, as well as the work of other artists and writers who have produced work as a response to the Holocaust.
“The information relating to the Holocaust is obviously very sensitive material,”
said Bob Beagrie,
“…and finding a way of delivering it to young adults is very difficult. Many of the students had no idea of the sheer scale of the organised brutality, which lead to the deaths of six million Jews, not to mention the other ‘undesirables’ within Nazi Germany. Some of the students were visibly shaken by the information. However, one of the roles of art is to provide an outlet for difficult emotions and the workshops offered ways of responding to the information on a personal level.”
The workshops introduced the students into new ways of working and thinking about art and creative expression, and produced some strong and challenging words and images. The work will form a temporary installation, which will open at Hartlepool Central Library on Saturday 27th January.