Holocaust charity launches hard hitting viral campaign

LONDON - The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust is to launch a series of viral films featuring animated enactments of real-life incidents of hatred from 1930s Nazi Germany to the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence.

The provocative 12 minute viral film, produced by creative network Knifedge, is part of the charity's 'Stand up to Hatred' campaign, which aims to highlight communities affected by 1930s/40s Nazi and contemporary hatred.  

The animated film is presented as scenes from a simulated computer game called 'The Hate Game' and it will be supplied to teachers, youth and community workers, and local organisers.

The films are also being distributed to over a thousand organisers on DVD free of charge, with guidance notes.

The Stephen Lawrence film puts viewers in the shoes of the teenager as he is fatally attacked waiting for a bus with his friend.

The film was created with the full blessing of Stephen's mother, Doreen Lawrence OBE, who concludes the film with a direct appeal to camera as she says "This isn't a game."

The contemporary stories are preceded by two scenes from the Holocaust and Nazi persecution.

One of these depicts Kristallnacht, or the 'Night of Broken Glass' when thousands of Synagogues and Jewish homes and businesses were destroyed and 30,000 Jewish men arrested and deported to concentration camps on November 9–10, 1938 as part of Hitler's anti-Semitic policy.

On a single night, 91 Jews were murdered and the arrested and deported to concentration camps. It is often called 'Novemberpogrom' or 'Reichspogromnacht' in German.

Holocaust Memorial Day Whole Film from Knifedge on Vimeo.

The other is the moving story of Robert Wagemann, disabled and a Jehovah's Witness, who was seven years old when his mother overhead doctors discussing their intention to "put him to sleep".

She managed to rescue him from one of many Nazi euthanasia clinics, which put to death over 200,000 disabled men, women and children during Hitler's reign over Nazi Germany.

Together they fled and the film concludes with a specially recorded voice-over testimony from Wagemann himself, now 71 and living in America.

Another of the segments includes a thought-provoking incident of Islamaphobia, depicting a disturbing incident of exclusion, of a mother wearing a veil from a parents' evening in a northern primary school.

Anjum Anwar MBE, Dialogue Development Officer of Blackburn Cathedral, herself wearing a hijab, concludes with an inclusive Holocaust Memorial Day message from a Muslim perspective.

The final episode depicts a recent incident of anti-Semitism directed at a school girl, Gabriella Soffer, on Golders Green High Street. An elderly lady, whose husband fought in World War Two, intervenes. Gabriella's message reminds us how the contemporary concerns link to the past.

Jack Gilbert, a trustee from the charity, said: "The issues addressed in these films are occurring every day across the UK and it is vitally important we begin to recognise the dangers that unchecked hatred presents to us.

"Everyday people in the UK stereotype, discriminate, exclude, bully, persecute and attack -- because of race, religion, disability or sexuality."