Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on 27 January each year. It’s a time for everyone to pause to remember the millions of people who have been murdered or whose lives have been changed beyond recognition during the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. On HMD we can honour the survivors of these regimes and challenge ourselves to use the lessons of their experience to inform our lives today. 27 January marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.
HMD is a time when we seek to learn the lessons of the past and to recognise that genocide does not just take place on its own, it’s a steady process which can begin if discrimination, racism and hatred are not checked and prevented. We’re fortunate here in the UK; we are not at risk of genocide. However, discrimination has not ended, nor has the use of the language of hatred or exclusion. There is still much to do to create a safer future and HMD is an opportunity to start this process.
The aims of HMD are laid out in the statement of commitment. HMD activity organisers bring together the diverse strands of their communities to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day in their neighbourhoods. This is a real demonstration of how the lessons of the past can inform our lives today and ensure that everyone works together to create a safer, better future.
What was the Holocaust?
The Holocaust happened during the Second World War between 1941 and 1945.
It refers to when the German Nazi party – led by Adolf Hitler – murdered six million Jewish people from countries across Europe in an attempt to wipe out the Jewish population.
The Jewish people had done nothing wrong. They were targeted simply because they were Jewish.
The Nazis also killed millions of other people just because of who they were. For example, Roma gypsies, disabled people and gay people were also targeted.