Candle-lighting ceremony for Holocaust Memorial Day

Southampton Solent University is collaborating with the University of Southampton to stage the lighting of a specially designed candle to mark Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD).

The candle created by Turner Prize winning artist Sir Anish Kapoor, is one of 70 which will be lit across the UK to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp during the Second World War.

A ceremony will take place at Southampton Solent Conference Centre, Above Bar Street in Southampton at 6pm on Tuesday 27 January.

Holocaust survivor, Arieh Simonsohn – who was imprisoned by the Nazis during the war – will light the candle to begin a moment of reflection, honouring the survivors of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides.

Mr Simonsohn will share some of his experiences of being held in the Warsaw Ghetto as a boy, before he escaped to join a group of Jewish Partisans.

There will also be a drama performance by Southampton Solent students and a recital of commemorative music by local songwriter Helen Bonney, chosen from hundreds of applications sent to the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust – the charity responsible for marking HMD in the UK.

Event organiser Dr Tom Plant, from the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations at the University of Southampton, says: “Holocaust Memorial Day is an important focal point in the year and we are delighted to have been selected to be part of this nationwide commemoration. It is vital that we remember and reflect upon the horrors of the past, and honour those who survived.”

Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, says: “Sir Anish Kapoor has created a beautiful candle to mark Holocaust Memorial Day on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. When all 70 candles are lit throughout the country, it will be a poignant moment of remembrance and a time for us all to ensure we keep the memory alive.”

Sir Anish Kapoor is best known for his sculpture work, including the ArcelorMittal Orbit, an observation tower built in the Olympic Park for London 2012, and Chicago’s mirrored, legume-shaped Cloud Gate, which is more commonly known as the Bean. He was awarded the Turner Prize from the Tate in 1991 and received a Knighthood in the 2013 Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to visual arts.

The Holocaust Memorial Day event is free and open to all. Special candles will also be lit at a national commemorative event in central London and at Auschwitz, as part of international commemorations.

Phil Gibson, Head of Student Services at Southampton Solent says: “We are pleased to host this annual event which reflects the University’s commitment to inclusion, social justice and the local community.”

For more information about Holocaust Memorial Day and the events taking place visit www.hmd.org.uk or follow The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust on Twitter @hmd_UK #hmd2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT THE MEDIA OFFICE ON 023 8201 3040 or press.office@solent.ac.uk

About Southampton Solent University  

Southampton Solent University offers more than 23,000 students over 200 qualifications ranging from HND to PhD, in subjects such as maritime education and training, fashion and design, media and television, music, health, sport and leisure, business, IT and technology. The University was awarded the 2013 Quality Assurance kitemark for quality and standards of teaching and learning. Solent was voted one of the most creative universities in the UK in a Which? University 2014 poll of students. Solent Business School has been awarded the Small Business Charter Award, which is supported by the Association of Business Schools and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and ‘gold approval’ by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

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Home to around 11,000 students studying everything from HNDs to PhDs, Southampton Solent University is dedicated to enabling learners of all backgrounds to become enterprising citizens and responsible leaders, while also promoting economic and social prosperity. Winner of the Times Higher Education ‘Most Improved Student Experience’ Award 2015, Solent is a dynamic university with strong local links and a growing network of global connections – and a reputation for developing grounded, well-prepared graduates with the skills and experience employers want. Holder of the small business charter, home to one of the world’s leading maritime training academies and voted one of the UK’s most creative universities in the 2013 and 2014 Which? University student polls, Solent applies passion and innovative practice to all its courses. Spanning business and law, the creative industries, engineering and technology, maritime, media, sport and tourism, those courses deliver a practical blend of career-focused tuition and real-world experience – giving our students the tools they need to shape their own success.

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We are pleased to host this annual event which reflects the University’s commitment to inclusion, social justice and the local community
Phil Gibson