City of York hosts World Premiere of new Holocaust film

16 August 2021 – 8 Elul 5781
Getting Away with Murders

York Liberal Jewish Community (YLJC) will co-host the World Premiere of a new feature-length documentary film on the Holocaust entitled GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER(S).

Made by one of Yorkshire’s most interesting filmmakers, David Nicholas Wilkinson, it is been in fruition for the last 18 years.

It looks at how almost one million people, in 22 countries, took part in the murder of 11 million people during the Holocaust – with 99% of them never prosecuted or even questioned.

David said: “I filmed in 10 countries including the UK, where I question our turning a blind eye that allowed 400 alleged Nazi war criminals to live in this country, completely untroubled by justice. The only prosecution that ever occurred went ahead 53 years after the perpetrator’s arrival in London. He was sent to prison for murdering 18 Jews, although in reality, he was responsible for a great many more deaths.

“During the examination of my subject, I filmed in York where, in 1190, the city’s Jewish population were massacred whilst under the King’s protection. At a time of increasing attacks on Jews throughout England, they fled to the Castle (now the site of Clifford’s Tower) to be besieged by an incited angry mob, and then committed mass suicide rather than wait to be killed or be forcibly baptised. Those who did choose to be baptised and came out were slaughtered by the mob.

“As a Yorkshire man I have always felt singularly uneasy that my own county City was the setting for such a horrific crime. Therefore, it seemed appropriate and particularly fitting to me that the City of York should be where I launch this film. It is example of how a City and a Jewish community has and continues to move forward together.”

The premiere will take place at the Everyman Cinema in York on Thursday 9 September with the involvement of York Liberal Jewish Community, which has just celebrated its own seventh birthday and has 100 members of all ages. Tickets can be bought by clicking here.

York in the 21st century is a different place. The city now commemorates the Clifford’s Tower massacre annually, as it does Holocaust Memorial Day, acknowledging these atrocities and works to ensure that these things never happen again. York was one of the first cities in the UK to receive City of Human Rights status and York City of Sanctuary seeks to promote an environment of compassion and understanding in the city and provides support and assistance to refugees and asylum seekers. York Interfaith Group, of which YLJC is a member, meets regularly to promote mutual understanding between all of York’s faith groups, and helps promote mixed faith events hosted by its members.

The chair of York Liberal Jewish Community, Lilian Coulson, said: “When David approached us to discuss his film, we were amazed to be told about the extent of this ‘hidden’ part of all our history.

“On a personal level, coming from a Jewish family who had to flee Nazi Germany to survive and whose grandfather was one of many lawyers working at the Nuremburg Trials, I have always wondered why nothing was done earlier by the outside world to stop the genocide of 11 million people, including 6 million Jews. Or what happened subsequently to those people who implemented this genocide.

“I look forward to viewing David’s film at its World premiere in York to learn more about what has happened (or not) since the Nuremburg Trials finished 75 years ago.”

Lilian added: “YLJC, as York’s only formal Jewish community, is delighted to welcome David and his film to this City and to help open doors to our friends here to promote his film to those who also wish to learn more about our more recent past. We are lucky to live in a City that positively tries to encourage good interfaith relationships and tolerance and actively stretches out a hand to those in need.

“The continued dialogue of the proposed redevelopment of the Clifford’s Tower and Eye of York area provides a unique opportunity for us all to work together to commemorate its history and, at the same time, look positively to the City’s future.”

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