University of Southampton: Oak tree planted in Southampton on Holocaust Memorial Day

On Holocaust Memorial Day an English Oak tree was planted on Southampton Common to commemorate 80 years of the Association of Jewish Refugees.

The Association for Jewish Refugees launched a special campaign called ‘80 Trees for 80 Years’ to mark its 80th anniversary in July 2021. The special campaign will see 80 native oak trees planted around Britain in honour of people and places that symbolise the enormous contribution made to every walk of British life by refugees who escaped from Nazi Europe.

The Right Worshipful Mayor of Southampton, Councillor Alex Houghton accepted the tree on behalf of the city and a special ceremony was held with The Parkes Institute, University of Southampton, Southampton Solent University, South Hampshire Reform Jewish Community and Southampton Hebrew Congregation.

The Right Worshipful Mayor of Southampton, Councillor Alex Houghton comments:

“As a City of Sanctuary, it was a great honour to pay tribute to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust. This tree reaffirms our unwavering commitment to counter antisemitism, racism, and other forms of intolerance. The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day this year is One Day and today offered a moment for our communities to come together and learn from the Holocaust and genocides – for a better future.”

Professor Tony Kushner, Parkes Institute for the study of Jewish/non-Jewish relations at the University of Southampton said:

“The city of Southampton has a long tradition of providing asylum and a place of settlement to refugees, including in the Nazi era. Jewish refugees came through the port and those that came to live here contributed generously to the cultural, intellectual and economic life of the city, not least to the University of Southampton.

“Through this tree planting as part of Holocaust Memorial Day, we pay tribute to how these refugees rebuilt their lives here and to those who supported them so generously.”

Protasia Dlamini, spokesperson for Association Jewish Refugees adds: “Southampton Common is one of 80 different locations around the UK where the AJR is planting trees in places that were hugely important to Jewish refugees 80 years ago. This tree is not just a way of remembering the Jewish refugees, it also helps them to give something back to the country which became their home. We are delighted that it is being planted here on this lovely common, where we know it will be cared for and thrive, and we thank you all again for your support with this wonderful project.”

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