Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on 27th 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 this day we can honour the survivors of these regimes and challenge ourselves to use the lessons of their experience to inform our lives today. 27th January marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. As concentration camps became public knowledge, Winston Churchill said that the world was being brought face to face with “a crime that has no name”.
Holocaust Memorial Day is a time when we should 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.
“To forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.“ Elie Wiesel. Holocaust survivor. Poet and Writer.