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“What Britain Knew: The Holocaust and Nazi Crimes” Conference at Staffordshire University


A group of experts working in a variety of different fields around the world came together last week to discuss the various ways in which information about Nazi crimes was handled, reinterpreted and acted upon by the British government and public before and after the Second World War.

The “What Britain Knew: The Holocaust and Nazi Crimes” conference, which was supported by the UK Chairmanship of IHRA, was organised by the Centre of Archaeology at Staffordshire University.

Dr Caroline Sturdy Colls, Associate Professor of Forensic Archaeology and Genocide Investigation, said: “The conference is an important milestone in confronting the lesser-known aspects of Britain’s knowledge of, and reactions to, the Holocaust and other Nazi crimes in Europe.”

Experts from 19 different countries, visiting the UK for meetings of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, took part in panel discussions at the University’s Science Centre, examining the relationships Britain had with the rest of Europe as a result of the movement of people and intelligence across continents.

“This event... allowed us to critically reflect on the issue of what Britain knew and contextualise our findings within broader Holocaust narrative. The speakers were outstanding and I think everyone who attended found it extremely useful and informative,” said Caroline, who presented her own research relating to the network of concentration and labour camps that existed on the island of Alderney in the British Channel Islands.

The conference was opened by Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Gunn who reflected on the importance of Holocaust research and highlighted some of the vital work being undertaken at Staffordshire University by academics across a number of sites in Poland, the Czech Republic, Serbia and the Channel Islands.

Click here to read an adaptation of the paper given by Dr Tony Grenville, of The Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR), on the occasion of the What Britain Knew conference.

For more information, please see this press release by Staffordshire University.