On Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK, we commemorate the indomitable spirit of survivors and their enduring message of hope. Join us in this tribute.
- Date: 27 January every year
- Main Components: Ceremonies, exhibitions, workshops, lectures, films, concerts and more
- Popularity: More than 1,500 events across the UK and millions of participants
- Pairings: International Holocaust Remembrance Day and other national Holocaust Memorial Days
- Variations: Different themes and locations each year
Holocaust Memorial Day in UK is a day of commemoration for the victims of the Holocaust and other genocides that have occurred in history. The Holocaust was the systematic murder of six million Jews and millions of others by Nazi Germany and its allies during World War II. Genocide is the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation. Holocaust Memorial Day is observed on 27 January every year, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. More than one million people, mostly Jews, died at Auschwitz before it was liberated by allied troops in 1945.
The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2023 2023 is “Ordinary People”, which encourages people to reflect on how ordinary people can be influenced by propaganda, prejudice and hatred, but also how they can resist, challenge and change them. The aim of Holocaust Memorial Day is to remember, reflect and react to the atrocities of the past, and to learn from them to prevent future genocides.
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History and Background
The first Holocaust Memorial Day was held in 2001, following the Stockholm Declaration in 2000, which was signed by 46 governments to commit to preserving the memory of those who were murdered in the Holocaust. Holocaust Memorial Day is not only about the Holocaust but also about other genocides that have taken place since then, such as in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. These genocides involved the killing of millions of people based on their ethnicity, religion, nationality or political affiliation.
Holocaust Memorial Day is supported by the UK Government, the devolved administrations, local authorities and a wide range of organisations. Holocaust Memorial Day is coordinated by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, a charity set up and funded by the UK Government. The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust works with activity organisers across the UK to help them plan and deliver Holocaust Memorial Day activities.
Activities and Events
There are various activities and events that take place across the UK and around the world to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, such as ceremonies, exhibitions, workshops, lectures, films, concerts and more. These activities aim to educate people about the Holocaust and other genocides, to honour the survivors and their stories, and to inspire people to take action against hatred and discrimination.
- The UK Commemorative Ceremony for Holocaust Memorial Day 2023 2023, which will be broadcast on BBC One on 27 January at 7pm. The ceremony will feature survivors of genocide, political leaders, celebrities and artists. The ceremony will also include a candle lighting moment to remember those who were killed.
- The Memory Makers project, which pairs artists with survivors of genocide to create artworks that tell their stories. The artworks include collage, animation, ceramic, poetry and more. The artworks will be displayed online and at various venues across the UK.
- The Portraits of Holocaust Survivors exhibition, which showcases photographs of Holocaust survivors taken by the Duchess of Cornwall. The exhibition will be on display at Westminster Abbey from 15 January to 27 February.
- The Imagine… series on BBC One, which will feature documentaries about Holocaust survivors and their stories. The series will include films by David Olusoga, Debs Paterson and Emilia Fox.
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Lessons and Messages
Holocaust Memorial Day is not only a day of remembrance but also a day of learning and action. Holocaust Memorial Day aims to inspire people to challenge hatred, prejudice and discrimination in their own lives and communities. Holocaust Memorial Day also aims to raise awareness of the dangers of genocide and the need for prevention.
Some of the lessons and messages from HMD are:
- The power of words: Words can have a huge impact on people’s lives, for good or for evil. Words can inspire hope, courage and resistance, but they can also incite hatred, violence and genocide. We should use our words responsibly and respectfully, and speak up against harmful words that target others.
- The importance of diversity: Diversity is a strength, not a weakness. We should celebrate our differences and respect each other’s identities, beliefs and cultures. We should also stand up for those who are persecuted or discriminated against because of their diversity.
- The responsibility of individuals: Individuals can make a difference in the world, for better or for worse. We should not be bystanders or perpetrators of injustice, but rather be allies and activists for positive change. We should also support survivors and their families who have suffered from genocide.
Holocaust Memorial Day is a day to remember the victims of genocide, but also to honour the survivors and their stories. HMD is a day to reflect on the causes and consequences of genocide, but also to learn from them to prevent future atrocities. Holocaust Memorial Day is a day to react to the challenges of hatred, prejudice and discrimination in our society, but also to take action to create a more peaceful and tolerant world. Holocaust Memorial Day is a day to remember that ordinary people can make extraordinary choices, for good or for evil. Holocaust Memorial Day is a day to be the light in the darkness.