Manchester Jewish Museum marks Holocaust Memorial Day with exhibition and performances

By Sarah Jackson | 24 January 2014

To mark International Holocaust Memorial Day, Manchester Jewish Museum remembers the stories of Kindertransport children and artist Gary Spicer makes a personal encounter with the Holocaust

Black and white image of railway tracks stretching into the horizon, appearing to disappear into the clouds.
Gary Spicer, Road to Heaven.© Gary Spicer
To mark Holocaust Memorial Day, Manchester Jewish Museum will open a new exhibition ‘Encounter with the Holocaust’ on Sunday January 26. The museum will also host a series of performances based on the stories of Kindertransport children.

This year’s chosen theme for Holocaust Memorial Day is ‘Journeys’, intended to remind us that forced journeys are characteristic of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides.

‘Encounter with the Holocaust’ will showcase work by Manchester artist Gary Spicer, who grew up in the Cheetham Hill area alongside the Jewish community.

Although his father was a Jew, his mother was not, which made Gary himself a non-Jew in the eyes of orthodox Jewish law. Throughout his life he was drawn to the Jewish community whilst knowing that he was outside it.

Eventually he decided to explore his Jewish roots by confronting the Holocaust and embarking on a very personal journey of his own. The exhibition at the MJM will display drawings, photographs and writings by Spicer in response to his visits to Auschwitz-Birkenau and Plaszow concentration camps in 2012.

During the afternoon of Sunday January 26, students from Manchester School of Theatre will perform scenes from Diane Samuels play, “Kindertransport”, and students from Manchester’s King David High School will read extracts from one of the most important items in MJM’s collections – the Harris House diary.

The diary was written by 15 young Jewish girls who were welcomed to a Southport hostel after escaping Nazi persecution in Germany and Austria in 1938.

They were brought to Britain on the Kindertransport (Children’s Transport), the informal name of a series of rescue efforts which is believed to have saved more than 10,000 Jewish children prior to the outbreak of the Second World War.

Museum CEO Max Dunbar said, “Gary Spicer’s exhibition demonstrates vividly the terrible fate which awaited Jewish children had they not made that journey on the Kindertransport.”

The Harris House diary provides a fascinating insight into what life was like after arriving on the Kindertransport and we’re particularly thrilled that pupils of King David High will be helping us bring those stories to life”.

International Holocaust Memorial Day was created on January 27 2000, when representatives from 46 governments from around the world met in Stockholm to discuss Holocaust remembrance, education and research. The declaration signed at the end of that meeting formed the basis of the Memorial Day, which takes place every January 27. The date marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1945.

Encounter with the Holocaust – Personal Reflections by Gary Spicer runs from 26 January until 9 March at the Manchester Jewish Museum. Gary Spicer will also be talking at MJM about the exhibition on Sunday 2 February, Sunday 16 February and Sunday 9 March, all at 2pm.  

  • Open Sunday-Thursday 10am-4pm, Friday 10am-1pm. Admission £3.95 (£2.95 concessions). Follow the museum on Twitter @ManJewishMuseum.
  • Find out more about Holocaust Memorial Day at hmd.org.uk.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.


Black ink drawing of a face with blotches of red.
Gary Spicer, face flat.© Gary Spicer
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never again,,will we walk to our deaths for heros and for our ghosts,may hashem have mercy upon them and grant them enternal peace
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