On Monday 8 February, Ken Loach participated in an event at St Peter’s College, Oxford. In response to this The Wiener Holocaust Library’s Director, Dr Toby Simpson, wrote the following to Professor Judith Buchanan, the Master of St Peter’s College.
“I am writing to express my dismay at learning that you hosted an event with Ken Loach at St Peter’s College, despite knowing that he has cast doubt on whether the Holocaust happened. This is a matter of grave concern to The Wiener Holocaust Library, which is the world’s oldest and the nation’s largest institution devoted to the study of the Holocaust, antisemitism and other genocides.
Your decision has caused distress to supporters of the Library, including survivors of the Holocaust and their descendants. Your event took place in spite of the serious objections of Jewish students and the Board of Deputies of British Jews. You will no doubt be aware of the shocking findings of the Community Security Trust report, Campus Antisemitism in Britain 2018-2020, published earlier this year. One of the pertinent findings of that report was that ‘whereas some institutions have provided strong support to Jewish students, some universities have failed in their duty to investigate and adjudicate complaints about antisemitism fairly, objectively and quickly’.
I have read the statement published on the college website, and welcome reports of your apology to students. I find it very disappointing, however, that St Peter’s appears to believe that the decision to hold this event can be reconciled with its strong opposition to antisemitism, without a clear commitment to a full review of how this came about. I would suggest that the college urgently considers reviewing its procedures if it does not wish to continue to fail in its duty towards its Jewish students, alumni and supporters.”