Holocaust Memorial Day was created on 27th January 2000, the landmark date of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. It has become a day of international commemoration to remember the millions of people murdered in the Holocaust; under Nazi persecution; and in the subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. On Holocaust Memorial Day we are also called upon to honour the survivors of these atrocities, and challenge ourselves to use the lessons of their experiences to inform our lives today. We are also asked to consider the part we can play in challenging prejudice, reducing hatred and creating a better, safer future.
Each year, Holocaust Memorial Day takes on a different theme. This year, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust offers the theme ‘Torn from home’ to encourage participants and audiences to reflect on how the enforced loss of a safe place to call ‘home’ is part of the trauma faced by anyone experiencing persecution and genocide. ‘Home’ usually means a place of safety, comfort and security.
On HMD 2019 we are called upon to reflect on what happens when individuals, families and communities are driven out of, or wrenched from, their homes because of persecution or the threat of genocide, alongside the continuing difficulties survivors face as they try to find and build new homes when the genocide is over.
HMD 2019 will also include marking the 25th anniversary of the Genocide in Rwanda, which began in April 1994. HMD activity organisers have been invited to acknowledge this milestone anniversary, and reflect on how this theme impacts on members of the Rwandan community. The issues of ‘home’ identified in all genocides include the following:
Anyone interested in participating or becoming involved in Holocaust Memorial Day activity can find out all they need to know at https://www.hmd.org.uk