Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) is the international day on 27 January to remember the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, the millions of people killed under Nazi Persecution and in recent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.
27 January marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp and 2022 is the 77th Anniversary of this historic event. It is an occasion for communities to come together to learn, remember and reflect. Each year across the UK, thousands of people mark HMD and learn more about the past in order to take action to build stronger communities and create a safer future, free of genocide and all other forms of identity-based hostility.
The UK played a leading role in establishing HMD as an International Day of Commemoration in 2000, when 46 governments signed the Stockholm Declaration.
HMD is for everyone and is now more important than ever as prejudice and the language of hate are on the rise. In the year ending March 2021, there were 124,091 hate crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales. HMDT would like to encourage every individual and organisation to mark HMD and use it as an opportunity to reflect and inform. Learning about the Holocaust and subsequent genocides, and the steps that led to them, equips people with the facts they need to resist hatred and prejudice.
Every year, a theme is selected for HMD and this year it is ‘One Day’. We come together on this one day to bear witness for those who endured genocide and honour the survivors and all those whose lives were changed beyond recognition. It is a historical reminder that just one day in different years holds extreme significance e.g., 12 July 1995 in Bosnia – Against the backdrop of a war, after Bosnia declared independence from Yugoslavia, Bosnian Serb troops descended on the town of Srebrenica. Over the next couple of days more than 8,000 Bosniak men and boys were murdered in and around Srebrenica.
It is also a moment to recall how quickly lives were changed due to genocide. Survivors of the Holocaust and of genocide often talk about the One Day when everything changed, sometimes for the worse and sometimes for better. As Holocaust Survivor Iby Knill recalls, that from One Day to the next, everything changed and yet nothing had changed: ‘One day Gretl, my school friend…greeted me with an embrace. The next day she ran across the road and turned her head away so as not to acknowledge me.’
Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) is a registered charity, funded by the UK Government. Their purpose is to promote and support Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD). HMDT provides resources and support for thousands of HMD activities every year in workplaces, youth groups, museums, prisons, schools, places of worship, and more.
You can read more about the ‘One Day’ theme on our website, where you can also download resources, order stickers and booklets. Please play your part in creating One Day in our communities without hate, prejudice and intolerance.
Toni Griffiths is Senior Outreach Officer at the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.
Contact HMDT at firstname.lastname@example.org