Past holds lessons for today

The 2012 Holocaust Memorial Day Service at the D-Day Museum.
The 2012 Holocaust Memorial Day Service at the D-Day Museum.
Dr John Steadman, archivist of Portsmouth History Centre based at Portsmouth Central Library     Picture:  Malcolm Wells

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The Holocaust is a difficult subject to explain to children, but nonetheless an important one.

So, the D-Day Museum, Southsea, is helping families understand the events on Holocaust Memorial Day on Sunday.

The museum at Clarence Esplanade will be open from 10am to 5pm and will have a special display to mark the event. Entry is free.

‘The display gives people some more information about the events of the Holocaust to really get them thinking,’ explains the museum’s development officer Andrew Whitmarsh.

‘It is relevant to all ages except very young children. Families can look round and it gives parents an opportunity to start a discussion with their children,’ he adds.

The day’s events will also include two talks on how the Holocaust has been explained and remembered.

The first, at 11am by Portsmouth University student Rebecca James, is about representing the Holocaust to children.

Then, at 2pm, lecturer Dr Christine Berberich, will talk about the Holocaust in contemporary German culture and literature.

‘The talks are not about what happened during the Second World War, but how it is talked about in Germany today and how it’s explained to children,’ says Andrew.

Between the talks, at noon, there will be a memorial service at the Holocaust Memorial Day tree in front of the museum, led by Father Paul Miles-Knight of the Community Parish of the Holy Angels Church.

Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Frank Jonas, will attend, along with members of the local Jewish community, other invited guests and the public.

‘The main point of the day is not just about remembering something that happened a long time ago, but thinking about its relevance today and the lessons that people can draw for their everyday lives,’ continues Andrew.

The day also offers families a chance to look around the rest of museum, covering all aspects of the D-Day landings in Normandy and the wider subject of the Second World War. Among the items on display are tanks, landing craft and other Second World War vehicles.

To find out more about the D-Day Museum, call (023) 9282 7261. For information on Holocaust Memorial Day, see hmd.org.uk