COVENTRY UNIVERSITY’S Vice-Chancellor, Professor Madeleine Atkins planted the first of 5,000 commemorative snowdrops as part of a citywide commemoration that will involve individuals, community groups and local businesses.
Each of the 5,000 snowdrop bulbs were donated by Coventry City Council, and over the coming days a further 105,000 bulbs will be planted across the city to remember those 11 million people who lost their lives in Nazi concentration camps.
With each bulb representative of 100 people, in full bloom there will be 50,000 snowdrops visible on the lawn area situated directly behind the Lanchester Library both this year and in future years around the time of the national commemoration.
The theme for this year’s national event is ‘Standing up to Hatred’ which it is hoped will see people remember past and present genocide, crime, racism, and victimisation throughout the world.
At the ceremonial planting, a brief excerpt from a diary was read out, detailing the life of a young 13-year-old Polish girl called Rutka Laskier from Bedzin, Poland, now referred to as the ‘Polish Anne Frank’.
It is the first time the diary has been translated into the English language which is expected to be released in the latter half of this year, when the BBC will broadcast a documentary related to the diary.
It emerged earlier in the day courtesy of Reuters Press Agency that for 60 years a Polish woman had been holding onto the diary of Laskier who was killed by the Nazis in 1943.
Fellow Bedzin native, 82-year-old Stanislawa Sapinska, had been holding on to Laskier’s diary. Before German occupation, the two girls agreed that it should be hidden under the staircase of Laskier’s house and after the war Sapinska would look after it.
As part of the UK ‘Stand up to Hatred’ campaign, the nationally acclaimed ‘Anne Frank + You’ exhibition as curated by British documentarian, Jon Blair, will run throughout January in the Coventry Cathedral.