‘We Should Do Something for the Fiftieth’: Remembering Auschwitz, Belsen and the Holocaust in Britain in 1995
Six years before Britain’s first annual Holocaust Memorial Day was observed in 2001, the 50th anniversaries of the liberation of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen were remembered as part of a wider public calendar of war-re la ted commemorative activities.1 Holocaust Memorial Day has (rightly) been the subject of much scholarly attention, some of it critical of the day’s ‘pathos’ approach to commemoration.2 In contrast, there has been markedly less discussion of how the anniversaries in 1995 of the liberation of the camps were remembered in Britain. This chapter attempts to supplement previous studies that have focused on aspects of Holocaust commemoration in Britain in 1995, notably those by Judith Petersen and Joanne Reilly et al. 2 The aim is to question whether the ways in which Holocaust commemoration was performed and articulated in 1995 helps us to think about how subsequent commemorations have been organised and understood. The approach that this discussion takes is both empirical (setting out salient features of the public discourse of Holocaust memory in 1995 under various genre headings) and critical (commenting on some of the implications of these discursive features for thinking about Holocaust memory in Britain). Part of the justification for this study is that the imbalances between scholarly interest in the commemorations of 1995 and 2001 could be usefully readjusted, if only because of the ways in which they relate to certain methodological possibilities for analysing ‘Holocaust memory’ in a British context. After all, as Jeffrey Olick has argued, commemorations should not be conceptualised as isolated, discrete occurrences.
Link to article (paywalled), ‘We Should Do Something for the Fiftieth’: Remembering Auschwitz, Belsen and the Holocaust in Britain in 1995
‘We Should Do Something for the Fiftieth’: Remembering Auschwitz, Belsen and the Holocaust in Britain in 1995. . 2013: 171-189. https://archive.jpr.org.uk/10.1057/9781137350770_11