HKHTC greatly appreciates the community’s support as we continue to deliver high-quality Holocaust education programming and we encourage you to join us at our upcoming events. This year we have partnered with the Hong Kong Human Dignity Festival, which featured an HKHTC presentation by our Executive Director Simon K. Li on the Holocaust and genocide on Sunday 18 November at Eaton Hotel, 380 Nathan Road, Jordan, Hong Kong.
80th Anniversary of Kristallnacht: ‘Back to Berlin’ Screening & Discussion with Catherine Lurie, the Director
During the week of 12 November 2018, HKHTC was pleased to host the director of ‘Back to Berlin’ Catherine Lurie-Alt, who screened her film in local schools and participated in Q&A sessions with students. These events reached over 280 students in Hong Kong, who found the film to be a courageous stand against racism and were moved by the survivors’ stories portrayed in the narrative.
For more about the film, please follow its Facebook page by accessing the link here: https://www.facebook.com/back2berlin2018/
The Hong Kong Holocaust & Tolerance Centre was pleased to sponsor a number of Holocaust-themed films as part of the 19th Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival during 3-11 November 2018.
As part of the commemoration of the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, HKHTC co-hosted a special screening and discussion at the festival with Catherine Lurie, the director of Back to Berlin. The film followed 11 Israeli motor-bikers carrying the Maccabi torch from Tel Aviv to Berlin, retracing the tracks of the original 1931 Maccabiah riders. In addition to this event, there were screenings of four other sponsored films, all of which will tok place at Asia Society Hong Kong Center at 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty.
Sponsored Films 2018
(1) Back to Berlin (11 November – 4:45 PM)
Back to Berlin is the first biker flick-meets-Holocaust feature documentary. Eleven motor bikers have a mission to take the Maccabiah torch from Israel to the site of the infamous 1936 Berlin Olympics, for the first Jewish Olympic Games on German soil. They will retrace the heroic journeys of the original 1930s’ Maccabiah riders and discover how they or their families survived the Holocaust.
This screening featured a discussion with film director Catherine Lurie.
(2) The Silenced Walls (7 November – 7:15 PM)
At first glance, “La Muette” is a normal low-cost housing project like thousands of others in the Paris area. However, these walls obscure the concentration camp of Drancy where almost 80,000 Jews were held until most of them were sent to Auschwitz. After the war it was turned into a housing development with some of the lowest rents in the Paris suburbs. The current residents often cross the path of former internees during commemorations. They are constantly reminded of the past of the site. As if tragedy was attached to these walls.
(3) The Testament (6 November – 9:00 PM)
Yoel, a senior Holocaust researcher, is in the midst of a widely covered legal battle with powerful forces in Austria, concerning a brutal massacre of Jews that took place toward the end of WWII in the village of Lensdorf. An influential family of industrialists on whose land the murder took place, is planning to build a real estate project on the very same land. Yoel suspects that their aim is to bury the affair for good, but has trouble finding the conclusive evidence that would stop the project.
While investigating the incident Yoel examines classified testimonies of Holocaust survivors, and to his shock and surprise he finds a testimony given by his mother, a testimony he didn’t know existed. In her testimony she confesses to a substantial secret from her past.
Yoel, who’s conducting a double-investigation, personal and scientific, is trapped between walls of silence – on one side, denial of the Holocaust on the part of the villagers, and on the other, his mother’s silence regarding her past. As a historian with an unshakable commitment to the truth, he decides to continue his investigations even at the cost of ruining his personal and professional life.
(4 & 5) The Departure (15 Minute Short Film) and If I Ever Come Back (13 Minute Short Film) (4 November – 2:30 PM)
*Please note both of these films are being shown as part of the “Six Shorts – One Ticket!” screening at the film festival (and can be viewed together with the purchase of one ticket).
A woman is preparing her flat for departure. Step by step she seems to be following a strict plan. When she realizes to be missing some money for the train, she asks her neighbour for help.
If I Ever Come Back
In 2010, a collection of wartime letters and photographs was discovered in an old cupboard at a high school in Paris. Forgotten for years, the letters were written by a former pupil, Louise Pikovsky, to her beloved school teacher during World War Two. The last note dates to the day Louise and her family were arrested at their home. Father, mother and all four children were imprisoned in the Drancy internment camp near Paris before being deported to Auschwitz. The Pikovskys never came back.
The filmmakers were able to track down witnesses, cousins and former classmates from her time at the lycée Jean de La Fontaine. Through months of research, they pieced together fragments of her life, and shed light on the circumstances of the family’s disappearance. More than seventy years after Louise’s untimely death, this film finally gives a voice to a talented young girl who was unable to fulfil the bright future she deserved.
HKHTC is delighted by the strong turnout at the ‘Spots of Light: Women in the Holocaust’ exhibition opening held yesterday at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), our partner for the event. The exhibition, which was also co-organized with Yad Vashem, was attended by a diverse audience of academics, students and interested community members. Following opening comments by Mrs Hayley Goldberg (HKHTC Board Director), Professor Werner Hess (Head of the Department of Government and International Studies at HKBU), Mrs Ahuva Spieler (Consul-General of the State of Israel in Hong Kong and Macau), and Dr Martin Chung (Assistant Professor at HKBU) each delivered informative and moving remarks about the exhibition and its important subject matter.
The exhibition is located in the Exhibition Hall at the Lam Woo International Conference Centre at HKBU. It will remain open until 11:00AM on Thursday, October 11th. Please stop by to view its meaningful content!
The Hong Kong commemoration of Yom Hashoah 2018, which was hosted by HKHTC, welcomed Anne Frank House’s Ronald Leopold as our keynote speaker. Many people attended this year’s ceremony which was a full house at our venue in the Jewish Community Centre.
Mr Leopold, who delivered an excellent, thought-provoking keynote speech during the commemoration, was also interviewed by the RTHK (Hong Kong’s public broadcaster), SCMP Young Post and the Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Journal Monthly during his stay in Hong Kong.
In March 1943, the Warsaw Ghetto was nearing its end with less than 50,000 Jews remaining in the ghetto. A month later, a small group of young, starving Jewish fighters resisted the German liquidation of the ghetto in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which came to be engraved in Jewish memory after the war. As Holocaust survivors commemorate the 75th anniversary of the uprising next month, it is time to revisit what the situation of the Jewish people was once ghettoization became a reality.
Simon K. Li, the Director of Education of the Hong Kong Holocaust and Tolerance Centre, conducted a well-attended public workshop on the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising at the Education University of Hong Kong on 22 March 2018. It was very encouraging to see many student teachers and current teachers in the audience!
The German filmmaker, author and television presenter Mo Asumang knows how racism can make one feel: as a daughter of a German mother and a father from Ghana, she has experienced enough racist insults and discrimination in her everyday life. When she started to engage in fighting against racism and xenophobia, she received threatening letters. Mo Asumang has not been intimidated: in her documentary, Die Arier (The Aryans), she carried out a personal research on extreme right-wing circles – from German neo-Nazis up to the Klu Klux Klan in the United States. Her film was awarded the German Directors Award “Metropolis” in 2015 and was nominated for numerous awards. She tries to find out what is the idea behind “The Master Race” and why it is always about exclusion and violence against “the others”. Mo Asumang’s book Mo and the Aryans: Alone Among Racists and Neo-Nazis has always been a bestseller in Germany.
The Hong Kong Holocaust and Tolerance Centre (HKHTC), the Goethe-Institut and the Hong Kong Baptist University were honoured to invite Mo Asumang to Hong Kong during the week of March 26 to present her film, give readings from her book and discuss with our audience the danger of racism and xenophobia today. Ms Asumang spoke at the Hong Kong Baptist University, the Chinese International School, Elsa High School, as well as the Jewish Community Centre during her trip in Hong Kong.
HKHTC marked the International Holocaust Remembrance Day on 25 January 2018 with a moving, well-attended ceremony at the Sai Ying Pun Community Hall. With this year’s theme, “Holocaust Remembrance: Resistance and Resilience,” the commemoration was very successful with nearly 300 local Chinese and Jewish community members in attendance. Feedback was highly positive. Over thirty diplomats and dignitaries also attended, including Consuls General representing many European countries, the United States and Canada. The Under Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Jack Chan, represented the HKSAR government and delivered an excellent speech at the beginning of the ceremony.
HKHTC was deeply honoured that Mr Reich, a 90-year-old survivor of multiple concentration camps and the infamous death march, travelled from the United States to Hong Kong to share his story with the Hong Kong public. In addition to giving a keynote speech at the UNHMD ceremony, Mr Reich also visited different local schools and universities to share his experiences with young audience.