We commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day every year with a civic event on the nearest Sunday to 27 January. A number of other events are usually hosted by other organisations.
Holocaust Memorial Day 2019 took place on Sunday 27 January. This year’s theme was ‘torn from home’.
- Sunday 27 January 2018, 3 to 4.30pm at Great St Mary’s Church, Market Square, Cambridge CB2 3PQ
Eva Clarke, a Holocaust survivor, led us through the ceremony alongside Michael Rosen, the ‘poet in residence’ at Historyworks.
The event reflected on what happens when individuals, families and communities are driven out of their homes because of persecution or threat of genocide. And on how the enforced loss of a safe place to call ‘home’ is part of the trauma faced by anyone experiencing persecution.
The ceremony included songs, readings, poetry and drama. It was interspersed by survivor testimonies and uplifting words from support groups and human-rights campaigners.
Michael Rosen performed his new poem ‘the Missing’ about his Jewish family members who were persecuted in Vichy France. Some newly commissioned pieces by Mr Rosen, specially arranged for school choirs, were be performed, along with pieces cowritten and performed by local students.
Speakers included Eric Murangwa MBE, a former Rwandan international footballer, a Tutsi and former national team captain. He was protected by his fellow Hutu players, and has dedicated his life to work for genocide education to help the next generations learn about the danger of hate and division so that by taking personal or collective actions we can prevent future atrocities.
Holocaust Memorial Day became an international day of commemoration in 2000, when 46 governments signed the Stockholm Declaration. The first events in in the UK, including Cambridge, were in 2001.
“Between 1941 and 1945, the Nazis attempted to annihilate all of Europe’s Jews. This systematic and planned attempt to murder European Jewry is known as the Holocaust. From the time they assumed power in 1933, the Nazis used propaganda, persecution, and legislation to deny human and civil rights to Jews. They used centuries of antisemitism as their foundation. By the end of the Holocaust, six million Jewish men, women and children had perished in ghettos, mass-shootings, in concentration camps and extermination camps.” – Holocaust Memorial Day Trust
The Nazis also attacked, the Romani, Poles, members of other Slavic ethnic groups, and Aktion T4 patients who were killed because they were mentally and physically disabled. Others included: LGBT+ people; other religious minorities; black people; political opponents of the Nazis (e.g trade unionists); and members of other smaller groups.
There are five recognised genocides which are the Holocaust, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.
"Genocide never just happens. There is always a set of circumstances which occur or which are created to build the climate in which genocide can take place." – Holocaust Memorial Day Trust
The Ten Stages of Genocide
By Gregory H. Stanton, President, Genocide Watch
Please keep checking our page to see the programme for next year’s event. Alternatively follow us on Facebook or Twitter to get information about the next programme.