Holocaust Educational Trust Ambassador Blog

Our theme of #PassItOn is inspired by the Ambassador Conference 2022, where many Ambassadors, including the creative team, were able to meet in-person for the first time. This quarter, we’ve been inspired by contemporary art and the impact that post-Holocaust works can have in representing how individuals felt during the Holocaust and their methods of coping with trauma afterwards.

#PassItOn can relate to our individual responsibility as Ambassadors to safeguard the legacy of the Holocaust but also the efforts of all survivors and their families that have taken the crucial step of passing on their story. Recognising the bravery of sharing testimony and being able to become witnesses to their stories is forever a huge privilege and underpins our work as Ambassadors.

The UK’s First Stolperstein
by Nicole Wu

Earlier this summer, the UK’s first Stolperstein stone was unveiled in London. It was laid for Ada van Dantzig, a Dutch painting conservator, in Soho where she worked. She and her family were murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1943, when she was 24 years old.

Stolperstein are small brass plaques that are placed into the ground on ordinary roads marking the homes and workplaces of victims of the Holocaust. The name translates to ‘stumbling stones’ and the project helps remind the public that the Holocaust happened closer to home than they might think. Organised by artist Gunter Demnig, there are now thousands of Stolperstein across Europe in various different countries. Until now, were no Stolperstein in the UK because mainland UK was not occupied and stones typically mark the place of an individual’s departure from their last address of choice, normally work or housing, as a direct consequence of the Holocaust.

photo of Stolperstein placed in London Picture by Christian Michelides - Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.

Dr Toby Simpson, Director of the Wiener Holocaust Library, reflected that “the stones are important because they make this history personal and attach it to specific places”. It is important to remember that each victim of the Holocaust has their own name, unique experience and their own physical impact on the world too. By humanising each victim through passing on their individual experience of the Holocaust, we are able to continue their legacy and use their stories to inspire others.

Poem – Pass It On
By Amelia Trencher and Abigail Harrison

They aren’t the historical stories we’re told as children,

When innocence clouds our eyes,

Hiding harsh realities our minds can’t comprehend,

With the personal tales of struggle and strife,

Pages and pages survivors could write.

We can’t change what has happened in the past,

We cannot rewrite the pages of history,

But we can carry the truth and pass it on to those who follow,

We can give them the pages to read,

No matter how hard they are to swallow.

The message of this story is clear:

Take their story in your hands and pass it on

Page by page for all to hear,

We must not forget the horrors they went through,

We must remember their words year after year.

Podcast on Maus, Art Spiegelman
by Jasper Hawkes

In this edition’s podcast, Jasper discusses the graphic novel Maus, how it is indicative of less traditional ways of communicating knowledge about the past and how it helps us pass on knowledge about the Holocaust to future generations.

Listen to the podcast here.

cover of graphic novel 'Maus' by Art Spiegelman Picture by Giacomo - Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.

By Nicole Wu, Amelia Trencher, Abigail Harrison and Jasper Hawkes