Holocaust Educational Trust Ambassador Blog

Guest editing the special edition of the Jewish News newspaper

Holocaust Memorial Day 2020 marked 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. To commemorate this milestone, myself and fellow Regional Ambassador, Jack Nicholls, had the honour of joining the Jewish News’ editing panel to work alongside a team of extraordinary individuals with the goal of creating an 80-page edition worthy of such an anniversary.

Photo of eight people standing together in a large roomThe editing panel for the special edition

It is increasingly impossible to discuss Holocaust remembrance without thinking about how it will manifest itself in the future. We are faced with known challenges, such as the role of survivor testimony in a world where the number of survivors still able to share their stories is decreasing. Simultaneously, we have new challenges to deal with, most prominently the role of social media and the digital world in propagating antisemitism and Holocaust denial. I believe that the latter presents challenges that our generation, especially, is tasked with answering.

This concept was at the heart of our brainstorming session that took place on a cold evening in North London at JW3, the Jewish Community Centre in London. The evening consisted of an insightful and thought-provoking few hours, where we were fortunate enough to be amongst some of the most inspiring people in society. Joining us on the panel was the Association for Jewish Refugees’ Debra Barnes; Natasha Isaac, nominated by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust; Shannon Johnson, nominated by the Anne Frank Trust; Jude Williams, an educator on March of the Living and nominated by the National Holocaust Centre; BBC filmmaker Hannah Gelbart, nominated by the ‘45 Aid Society and barrister and television personality Robert Rinder, as well as Richard Ferrer and Justin Cohen, editors of Jewish News. The guest editing panel was chosen to include second and third generation survivors, and of specific importance for the Jewish News, was to include non-Jewish educators.

Frong page of 'The Jewish News' with headline: 'Their stories will stay with me forever - the Duchess of Cambridge photographs survivors for our Holocaust Memorial Day editionThe front page of the finished edition

The diversity within the panel meant we were able to draw upon our personal experiences and touch upon topics such as generational trauma and interfaith remembrance. I wrote a segment discussing the antisemitism that, as a non-Jewish woman, was directed towards me due to my work as a Regional Ambassador for the Holocaust Educational Trust. We also had moving contributions from survivors and leading figures such as the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Robert Rinder, Michael Attenborough, Efraim Zuroff, Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis - the Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, and many more.

The Jewish News created a truly beautiful and fitting commemorative issue, incorporating portraits of survivors taken by the Duchess of Cambridge to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2020. To be a part of something so life-changing and touching is a privilege that we will remember for the rest of our lives.

By Jaya Pathak