Holocaust Memorial Day
Monday 27 January 2020
Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) (27 January) is a national commemoration day in the United Kingdom dedicated to the remembrance of those who suffered in The Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution, and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.
It was first held in January 2001 and has been on the same date every year since. The chosen date is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp by the Soviet Union in 1945, the date also chosen for the International Holocaust Remembrance Day and some other national Holocaust Memorial Days.
In addition to the national event, there are numerous smaller memorial events around the country organised by many different organisations, groups and individuals.
Each year, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (the charity responsible for the annual national commemmoration of Holocaust Memorial Day) announces a theme for HMD which provides a focal point and a shared message for the hundreds of events which take place around the UK.
This year the theme is "How can life go on?".
The Holocaust and subsequent genocides took place because the local populations allowed insidious persecution to take root. Whilst some actively supported or facilitated state policies of persecution, the vast majority stood by silently – at best, afraid to speak out; at worst, indifferent. Bystanders enabled the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and subsequent genocides.
Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel has written powerfully about the impact of bystanders:
I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
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