On 9th September at Everyman York, Blossom Street, YLJC will be co-hosting the film premiere of David Nicholas Wilkinson’s feature-length documentary, Getting Away with Murder(s). In it, David reveals that almost 1 million people in 22 countries willingly carried out the unprovoked murder of 11 million innocent men, women and children; but the film’s audience may be shocked to learn that 99% of those responsible were never prosecuted; indeed, most were never even questioned. His film examines the reasons behind this flagrant disregard for justice.

David says, “During the examination of my subject, I filmed in York where, in 1190, Britain inflicted its own Holocaust when the city’s Jewish population were massacred whilst under the King’s protection.” 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, as it acknowledges these atrocities and works to ensure that these things never happen again. The City of York is an example of how a city can turn itself around and learn from events that happened within its walls almost 900 years ago, as well as from more recent history. David explained how this influenced his choice as to where this important film should be launched: “Normally with the films I make, the world premieres are either in London or at one of the prestigious film festivals such as Sundance or Edinburgh. I have thought long and hard about where to hold the important first screening of this film. 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.”

David also said: “In the documentary, I filmed numerous reverential memorials to the murdered Jews, in Berlin, Vilnius, Kaunas, Liepaja, Günzburg, Dachau, Vienna and Auschwitz. The more locations I visited, the more I became convinced that York too should have its own deferential memorial to those Jews murdered in the city, no matter how long ago it took place.”

Chair of York Liberal Jewish Community Lilian Coulson explains: “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.”

David has great hopes that this screening could launch a campaign to raise money for an improved memorial for the 1190 victims, which would be sited within a wider contemplative space as being proposed for the English Heritage site under the My Castle Gateway plans. This could be undertaken in conjunction with York Liberal Jewish Community, who are already fundraising to employ the first resident Rabbi in York since the Middle Ages, to help grow and develop their community.

He added, “We hope that this will help in bringing about a successful outcome and that, after 831 years, the memory of those 150 people massacred in York will be respectfully and informatively remembered.”