Survivors of Rwanda’s genocide will have their inspiring life stories brought into focus in Tower Hamlets this week, with a new exhibition of photo portraits collected over ten years.
The exhibition is just one of a series of events being held in the borough this week to honour and commemorate the victims of genocides throughout history, in a programme to coincide with Holocaust Memorial Day on Thursday.
Since 1999 photographer Andrew Sutton has personally captured the experiences of survivors of the Rwandan genocide trying to rebuild their lives. Exhibitions of Sutton’s photo portraits will be on display at Bow and Canary Wharf’s Ideas Stores all this week.
On Holocaust Memorial Day itself, a coinciding film by the photographer will headline a special programme at the Rich Mix Cinema in Bethnal Green Road, under the heading “Untold Stories”.
The event will also feature a 20-minute documentary by Yoav Segal entitled “No Pasaran” which tells the story of anti-fascist activism in the East End, as well as “Kazik and the Kommandant’s Car”, in which director Hannah Lovell meets Kazimierz Piechowski (Kazik), who was imprisoned in Auschwitz in 1940 for resisting Nazi occupation as a Polish boy scout.
Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman said that remembrance events would “enable the community to reflect on the lessons society can learn from the Holocaust, and other genocides to tackle the intolerance and prejudice that still exists in the UK today.”
Andrew Sutton’s Rwanda photographs and film have been produced in association with the Survivors Fund (SURF), a London-based charity that is dedicated to supporting survivors of genocide now living in the UK.
Director of SURF David Russell said: “The exhibition is about remembering all the victims whose lives have being claimed by genocide throughout the world and celebrating the stories of those who have survived. Importantly it’s also a call to action for society to realise that genocide is a reality and it can happen.”
Next Sunday, a special event to commemorate the Holocaust will be held at the East London Central Synagogue by the Jewish East End Celebration Society. The free event will feature music from Yiddish language singer Hilda Bronstein and a talk by Vera Foster, an Auschwitz survivor.
Untold Stories: The Survivors of the Rwandan Genocide, Mon 24 Jan. – Sun 30 Jan.
Untold Stories Film Programme, Thurs 27 Jan, 6.30pm
Short film showcase at Rich Mix Cinema, Bethnal Green Road
Tower Hamlets Holocaust Memorial Day Event, Sun 30 Jan, 2.30pm
Special commemorative event at East London Central Synangogue. Contact Jewish East End Celebration Society for details.