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University marks Holocaust Memorial Day 2012

Posted on 26 January 2012

The University of York is hosting a programme of events, with support from a range of city partners, to mark Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January.

On Friday, the University’s Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past will launch the York Jewish History Trail. The inaugural walk starting at the Yorkshire Museum will be led by Professor Helen Weinstein, of IPUP, and City Archaeologist, John Oxley. They have worked for a year with IPUP student interns and media company Historyworks to research and produce an illustrated map of the Trail with accompanying podcasts.

The Trail is designed to introduce the public to the longer story of Jewish settlement in the city from the 12th century to the 21stcentury 

Professor Helen Weinstein 

Professor Weinstein says: “I am extremely proud to see this project come to fruition because our IPUP interns have used their research skills to produce a useful product for the public. Most people in York know about 16 March 1190, when Jewish families died in the massacre at Clifford's Tower, but they do not know where Jews lived and worshipped and were buried. The Trail is designed to introduce the public to the longer story of Jewish settlement in the city from the 12th century to the 21st century.”

John Oxley adds: "It has been a huge pleasure working in partnership with Helen Weinstein and the IPUP postgraduate students. The medieval Jewish community was one of the most important in England between 1170 and 1290. The exciting work that IPUP interns have carried out will allow people to engage with the archaeological and historical evidence of the Jewish community, and put the terrible events of 1190 in to a much wider context.”

Michael Woodward, York Museums Trust’s Commercial Director, says: “It has been really rewarding to work with IPUP over the past three years and see the IPUP intern postgraduate students develop so many great webpages for the city's history website. The York Jewish History Trail is the most ambitious of our partnership projects so far, with seven downloadable podcasts, and it is going to be a great resource for residents and visitors to the city alike.”

Gillian Cruddas, Chief Executive of Visit York adds: “We are pleased to support the University of York’s new Jewish History Trail. There is immense interest from around the world in York’s Jewish connections and we congratulate the students on helping to bring these stories to life for York’s seven million annual visitors.”

One of the IPUP interns, postgraduate history student, Tom Sutton, says: “Our intern group has shared and planned our research, and tested the walk to check the coherency and the timings. Also, IPUP organised for us to work with the Jewish community in Leeds to exchange our knowledge and to pilot the script.”

The University’s events will culminate on 30 January with Remembering the past: Protecting the future a multi-media presentation in the Ron Cooke Hub supported by City of York Council. It will include an illustrated talk by University of York Pro-Vice-Chancellor Dr Jane Grenville whose father escaped from Nazi Germany on the Kindertransport, klezmer music performances by internationally renowned clarinettist Lesley Schatzberger and a new drama performance written and performed by pupils from local schools. The event will conclude with a candle lighting ceremony. 

A free photographic exhibition featuring portraits of Holocaust survivors living in Britain is on show in the Ron Cooke Hub at the University until 5 February.

Notes to editors:

  • More information about the York Jewish History Trail including the map and leaflet at
  • The free downloadable podcast narrated by the City Archaeologist, John Oxley, is available as audio to accompany the Trail at
  • Also free illustrated leaflet and audio on youtube at
  • IPUP intern students have written a range of blogs about their experiences of placements in media companies and the cultural sector:
  • IPUP’s student intern programme is designed in partnership with practitioners and curators at key cultural institutions in York. The University’s students learn how to communicate their academic knowledge to a lay audience and to translate their research skills in useable ways. The programme also benefits the wider public as the projects on which the students work help visitors and residents to gain a better understanding of York’s history.
  • The intern programme includes postgraduate students from History, History of Art, Archaeology, Heritage Management, Conservation Studies, and MA students from the Centres for Medieval Studies, Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, and Eighteenth Century Studies.
  • Postgraduate students on the IPUP programme have contributed to an on-line resource for visitors to the city, the History of York website. They have researched and written articles on a wide range of subjects, from The King’s Manor, the Shambles, Rowntree Park, and The Retreat. For the York Jewish History Trail, new locations added to the website include Jubbergate, the Medieval Synagogue on Coney Street, the Jewbury Cemetery, and Clifford’s Tower as the site where the city commemorates Holocaust Memorial Day.

Contact details

David Garner
Senior Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153

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