On 21 July 2022, the Hong Kong Holocaust and Tolerance Centre presented a public lecture titled “Love in the Darkest Hours of the Holocaust” at the Hong Kong International Book Fair.
We are delighted that the special talk attracted a very diverse crowd, emphasizing the value and importance of HKHTC’s core message of tolerance and non-discrimination. The lecture was presented by HKHTC’s Executive Director Simon K. Li in Cantonese, enabling us to connect with many local community members, including those who learned about the Holocaust for the first time as a result of this event. HKHTC is grateful to the Consulate of Israel in Hong Kong & Macau for arranging the talk.
Love in the Darkest Hours of the Holocaust 猶太大屠殺歷史: 被遺忘的愛情故事
Speaker: Simon K. Li (李家豪) Executive Director, Hong Kong Holocaust and Tolerance Centre Visiting Instructor, Yad Vashem
Growing up with a Nazi father, Dr Bernd Wollschläger is now a Jew by choice. Born a German Catholic, he was the son of a tank commander who received the Iron Cross, Germany’s highest military honor, which was pinned on him by Adolf Hitler. When the son discovered his father was a decorated Nazi war hero who has kept the past hidden from his children, he rebelled, converted to Judaism, and even served in the Israel Defense Forces. Dismayed by the legacy of the Holocaust, the son found that the rift between family and faith never healed.
In our HKHTC webinar on 8 June 2022, Dr Bernd Wollschläger shared with us the story of a German life out of the shadow of a perpetrator.
This special webinar has been made possible by the generous support of the Raymond and Nicette Bera Foundation.
“When my children started asking questions about my parents, I decided to break the wall of silence and tell them the truth about me. I needed to express what compelled me to dramatically change my life. I finally had to explore the relationship with my father and how it was overshadowed by the Holocaust. Our unresolved conflict and his denial motivated me to search for answers, and I found them within me and my acquired faith: Against all odds, change is possible… This is my story.”
HKHTC mourns the victims of the horrific shootings in Buffalo, New York. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of the victims, as well as the communities targeted by the instigator of this brutal hate crime. This tragic attack — motivated by ethnic supremacist ideology — illustrates the continued necessity of tolerance education. It is imperative that we continue to strengthen efforts to teach the importance of non-discrimination and promote peaceful co-existence among peoples of different backgrounds.
In 1947, Benjamin Ferencz wrote legal history by prosecuting high-level Nazi ‘Einsatzgruppen’ officers who had been responsible for the murder of over one million Jews. The trial at Nuremberg was part of a first attempt to hold perpetrators of the most heinous atrocities to account in an international court. Over the course of Ferencz’s life (he is still alive at age 102), this international legal order has evolved significantly.
In this HKHTC-HKU webinar which took place on 25 April 2022, Prof Gregory Gordon (CUHK, Law) tracked Ferencz’s landmark contributions to international justice through his role at Nuremberg and his longstanding advocacy for the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
In light of recent developments in Ukraine, questions about the need for international justice are more pressing than ever.
The annual Yom HaShoah Commemoration to remember the six million Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust took place on Wednesday, 27th April 2022. The Hong Kong Holocaust & Tolerance Centre presented a special Live Virtual Discussion with Rena Quint. Rena was liberated from Bergen Belsen in 1945, aged 9 years. Now living in Israel, she speaks movingly of unimaginable atrocities in the camps, the loss of her entire family and her own struggle for survival. Many participants from our community talked directly to Rena in the event.
As we are not able to gather at the JCC this year we invited participants to take part in a communal candle lighting where they lighted a candle at home while those online did so too. These lights in Hong Kong and from wherever people were participating in this virtual commemoration allowed us to connect with each other and to shine a commemorative light in the dark shadow of the Shoah.
This year’s Yom HaShoah Commemoration can be watched here to remember and pay tribute.
As the United Nations Holocaust Memorial Day 2022 is approaching, HKHTC board member Professor Glenn Timmermans wrote an op-ed piece on the importance of Holocaust education in the January edition of the Portuguese Jewish News, a newspaper for the Jewish community in Portugal, Europe and the world.
The annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day is designated by the United Nations as a Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. To mark this event, the Hong Kong Holocaust and Tolerance Centre (HKHTC) hosted the UN Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration, which took place online on Thursday 27th January. The special commemoration featured the testimony of our remarkable guest, Greek Holocaust survivor Ms Lola Angel.
Lola Angel is one of the very few Greek Jews left to remember the horror of the Nazi concentration camps. Approximately 83 percent of Greek Jews, nearly 59,000 people, were exterminated when the country was occupied by Nazi Germany. Lola is among survivors who have not spoken until now. Because she was so young at the time, she felt it was not her place to speak. But seven decades after the end of WWII, she finally feels ready to pass on her experiences to the next generation.
“I was but a child but I forgot nothing. The memories still haunt me, and the intense smells of the camp are ever-present.” –Lola Angel
On 16 November 2021, the Bard Center for the Study of Hate (BCSH) welcomed HKHTC’s Executive Director Simon Li to speak on “Hitler Shirts, Nazi Salute and Swastika Flags: Decoding Southeast Asia’s Strange Fixation with Nazi Hate Iconography.”
On the evening of November 9, together with March of the Living, the Hong Kong Holocaust and Tolerance Centre commemorated the 83rd anniversary of Kristallnacht with a message of unity and hope through a unique international campaign.
Titled “Let There Be Light,” March of the Living invited individuals, institutions, and houses of worship around the world to keep their lights on during the night of November 9 as a symbol of solidarity and mutual commitment in the shared battle against antisemitism, racism, hatred, and intolerance. As part of this virtual initiative, people from all over the world were able to add their voices to the campaign. Individuals of all religions and backgrounds were also invited to write personal messages of hope in their own words at the campaign website:
This year, through HKHTC’s strengthened global partnership with Yad Vashem, we will leverage our unique Holocaust education approach and reach thousands more across Asia — including educators and students in Japan and Indonesia. As always, HKHTC continues to be very active teaching about the Holocaust in partnership with local Hong Kong schools, universities, and community organisations. Thank you again for your interest and support. We sincerely hope you can join us at our future events. Please stay tuned for more details.