In the academic year of 2020-21, TED Bursa College in Turkey invited HKHTC Executive Director Simon K. Li to present a special online lecture on the Holocaust for their IB students and faculty. Students who attended are 15-16 years old and they are currently reading Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer-winning book Maus.
The annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day is designated by the United Nations as a commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. To mark this event, the Hong Kong Holocaust and Tolerance Centre hosted a virtual commemoration featuring Mr Eddie Jaku (100 year-old Auschwitz survivor, award-Winning author and speaker) as a special guest.
In November 2020, March of the Living commemorated the 82nd anniversary of Kristallnacht with a message of unity and hope through a unique international campaign. Titled “Let There Be Light,” March of the Living invited individuals, institutions, and houses of worship around the world to keep their lights on during the night of November 9 as a symbol of solidarity and mutual commitment in the shared battle against antisemitism, racism, hatred, and intolerance. As part of this virtual initiative, people from all over the world were able to add their voices to the campaign. HKHTC joined the effort to call individuals of all religions and backgrounds to write personal messages of hope in their own words at the campaign website: www.motl.org/let-there-be-light
Throughout December 2020, the HKHTC education team co-hosted with Yad Vashem a series of online training workshops for educators on two important themes of Holocaust education: historical context and personal stories of survivors. Over 100 educators have joined in each of our workshop events. The series highlighted the importance of the Holocaust to general education and the challenges faced by educators. We covered the issues of relevance, representation and education.
At the 21st annual Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival, 14-29 November 2020, HKHTC once again supported Holocaust-related films. Building on the success of last year’s attendance when hundreds viewed HKHTC-supported screenings, this year we supported three strong films—The Albanian Code, Chichinette, and Holy Silence—which were screened online. This year’s Holocaust-themed films once again attracted a diverse audience and we appreciate the excellent efforts of HKJFF to organise this year’s festival despite COVID. Please visit www.hkjff.org for more details.
On 22 October 2020, HKHTC Executive Director Simon Li gave a special lecture to around 300 high school students at St Stephen College’s main hall. The lecture was about of the almost 20,000 Jewish refugees who fled to Shanghai during WWII. It focused on helping the student audience understand what happened to so many Jews who were forced to board the first ship available from their homes in Europe bound for anywhere they could go — the choices were highly limited because most countries would not accept Jewish refugees. A remarkable collection of letters, diary entries, poems, and short stories were composed by these refugees in the years after they landed in China. Simon was joined by Carmel School Association Elsa High School’s ambassadors Hannah Davidson and Tahlia Goldberg who read excerpts from Shanghai Ghetto refugee Shoshana Kahan’s diaries.
In October 2020, HKHTC presented an acclaimed international exhibition — Stars Without a Heaven: Children in the Holocaust — a special project organised with St Stephen’s College (SSC) and in cooperation with Yad Vashem. HKHTC is delighted by the strong turnout at the exhibition held on the SSC campus in Stanley. The college’s 900+ students attended the exhibition throughout the week. On October 19, the exhibition began with an opening officiated by Ms Ahuva Spieler (Consul-General of the State of Israel in Hong Kong and Macau), Ms Carol Yang (SSC Principal), Ms Rachel Friedmann (Principal of Carmel School), Dr David Deutsch (Yad Vashem’s Head of International Seminars), Dr Roland Vogt (HKHTC Chairman), and Mr Glen Steinman (HKHTC Former Co-Chairman). Under the auspices of the joint ‘HKHTC-Elsa High School student ambassador programme’, the event featured three Elsa High School students engaging in a very meaningful and memorable dialogue with SSC students about Holocaust awareness and its relevance today.
In cooperation with EDiversity, an established local parent-initiated NGO promoting diversity in education in Hong Kong, HKHTC presented an evening webinar on the Righteous Among the Nations — these are non-Jewish people who risked their own lives during the Holocaust to help save the lives of Jews. The online event was conducted in Cantonese.