April 8 events: Bernard Kops and Ruth Barnett

Thursday night, April 8, 7pm Bernard Kops reads from This Room in the Sunlight at Whitechapel Art Gallery where his poem about the old Whitechapel Library, which inspired him to become a writer, is etched on a window …

“How often I went in for warmth and a doze:                                                            

the newspaper room whilst my world outside froze.                                       

And I took out my sardine sandwich feast.                                                

Whitechapel Library, Aldgate East!                                                                         

And the tramps and the madmen and the chattering crone.                         

The smell of their farts could turn you to stone,                                                

but anywhere, anywhere was better than home …”                                                                                                                                                          

It was lines like these that might have prompted film director Mike Leigh to say of his work: “Kops evokes the real world – the world as we know and live and breathe it.”

Also on Thursday night April 8, at 7pm, Ruth Barnett is at the Jewish Museum in a panel discussion “How Do We Tell Our Children About The Holocaust?”
In her book, Person of No Nationality, Ruth describes how important it is for young people to learn how bullying, prejudice and racism can lead eventually to genocide. She encourages students to be active in stopping bullying. She describes her work with teachers to help them engage students in the issues. “Teachers need guidance to help them understand what the Holocaust tells us about human behaviour. It takes courage to accept that the Nazi perpetrators were ordinary people, and that we too, could have been perpetrators, or victims, if we had been there at that time.”

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