History

The world marks Holocaust Memorial Day

Today the world stands together to commemorate the genocide of more than 6 million Jews and 5 million others by the Nazi regime and its collaborators during the Second World War.

Photo: Holocaust Memorial Day by JLK_254 | Source: creativecommons.org

It was on the 27th of January 1945 that the Red Army liberated the prisoners of the largest Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, where more than 1.1 million people were brutally murdered. 

In 2005, the UN General Assembly established the Holocaust Remembrance Day and since then the 27th of January has become an international moment of commemoration and also a national event in the UK. 

The victims of this tragic crime against humanity include not only millions of Jews, but also Roma, Soviet prisoners, Poles, gays, disabled and political dissidents. 

To mark this commemoration, Downing Street has released on its YouTube channel a video with Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking to Holocaust survivor Renee Salt and liberator Ian Forsyth. 

“Nothing will stop us remembering the unique horror of the Holocaust and recommitting to root out antisemitism”, Johnson stated in a recent Tweet on his account.

Video: Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to a Holocaust Survivor and Liberator | Source: YouTube

Due to measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19, this year the memorial will mostly be held virtually with survivors unable to gather with their families and to attend any public events.

Nonetheless, on its website, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust has mapped all the virtual events taking place in the country with the theme “be the light in the darkness”, including concerts and readings. 

In Wales, landmarks and institutional buildings such as the Cardiff Castle, Haverfordwest county hall in Pembrokeshire, and the Civic Centre in Ebbw Vale will be lit by purple light and people were invited to light candles.

The UN organised a series of virtual events, international activities and panels to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust.

Across Europe, survivors were honoured in various ways.

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