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Holocaust Memorial Day Lecture

Northumbria University


The United Nations General Assembly designated January 27 as an International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. On this annual day of commemoration, the UN urges every member state to honour the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism and to develop educational opportunities to help prevent future genocides. The 2023 theme for International Holocaust Remembrance Day is “Home and Belonging.”


Where Holocaust remembrance and education includes opportunities to develop a deeper appreciation of the victims and survivors and their agency, it can inform our response to the plight of contemporary victims. Placing the victims and survivors in the centre of historical research, learning and remembrance illuminates the humanity of victims of atrocities today, and the impact of antisemitism fuelled by disinformation and the distortion of history. Focusing on the humanity of the victims prompts us to remember our humanity, and our responsibility to combat hate speech, combat antisemitism and prejudice - to do all we can to prevent genocide. 


In this public lecture two scholars of the Holocaust from Northumbria University, Dr Dominic Williams and Dr Waitman Beorn, discuss resistance in two camps: Auschwitz and Janowska (Lviv, Ukraine). How were prisoners able to resist camp regimes that forced them to live and die in such extreme conditions? What different forms did resistance take? And why is it important to remember the fact that prisoners did resist?’


About the speakers

Dr Dominic Williams gained a PhD in Jewish Studies from the University of Leeds, and since then has worked teaching English Literature, Art History and Jewish History and Culture at Leeds, Reading, York St John and Southampton universities. He was Montague Burton Fellow in Jewish Studies at Leeds from 2016 until his appointment at Northumbria in Sept 2019. His work is deeply interdisciplinary, and is often collaborative. Many recent projects have been carried out with Nicholas Chare (University of Montreal), with whom Dominic has co-edited two and co-authored four books. In Matters of Testimony (2015), we engaged with the ‘Scrolls of Auschwitz’, the manuscripts written by the prisoners forced to work in the gas chambers of Birkenau, the Sonderkommando (SK). Following on from that work, The Auschwitz Sonderkommando (2019) considered post-war witness borne by survivors of SK in trials, memoirs, video interviews and films. Dominic’s research addresses general questions of Holocaust testimony, memory and representation.


Dr. Waitman Beorn is an Assistant Professor in History at Northumbria University Dr. Beorn was previously the Director of the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond, VA and the inaugural Blumkin Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.  Dr. Beorn is the author of Marching Into Darkness: The Wehrmacht and the Holocaust in Belarus (2014) and The Holocaust in Eastern Europe: At the Epicenter of the Final Solution (2018) and has recently finished a book on the Janowska concentration camp outside of Lviv, Ukraine, tentatively entitled Between the Wires: The Janowska Camp and the Holocaust in Lviv.  His next research project is The Revenants: The Postwar Lives of Nazi Perpetrators.  Dr. Beorn has published work in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Central European History, German Studies Review, Holocaust Studies: A Journal of Culture and History, Politics and Governance, and the Geographical Review in addition to chapters in several edited volumes.  He has been awarded National Endowment for the Humanities, Fulbright Foundation, Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, and Claims Conference fellowships. He is also active in the digital humanities. Dr. Beorn teaches courses in Holocaust History, Comparative Genocide, German history, Eastern European history, Antisemitism, Modern European history, Public history, and Digital history. 

Event Details

Northumbria University
Lecture Theatre 003
City Campus East
Newcastle upon Tyne


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