Yesterday 27/10/15 I attended a workshop at the Jewish Museum to discuss plans for Holocaust Memorial Day #HMD2016, with less than 3 months to go it is time to start planning and finalising events and activities.
There were about twenty people present, three people representing the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and others representing local authorities around London and the South of England.
As Lambeth’s Hate Crime Prevention Coordinator I was representing Lambeth Council. It was a very good informative meeting.
The theme this year is “Don’t Stand By”.
Why mark Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27th each year?
Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on 27 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 HMD we can honour the survivors of these regimes and challenge ourselves to use the lessons of their experience to inform our lives today. 27 January marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.
HMD is a time when we 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 and HMD is an opportunity to start this process.
The aims of HMD are laid out in the statement of commitment. HMD activity organisers bring together the diverse strands of their communities to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day in their neighbourhoods. This is a real demonstration of how the lessons of the past can inform our lives today and ensure that everyone works together to create a safer, better future.
Free Activity Packs available from HMD Trust – One per organiser/organisation
Order your pack here.
There is a whole range of other resources available on the HMD website.
Youth Champions scheme
HMD is recruiting young people between 14-24 years old to be trained as HMD Youth Champions.This is a great opportunity to learn new skills and gain knowledge of the work that this organisation is doing.
You can find out more about the scheme here.
Marking Holocaust Memorial Day in Lambeth
Lambeth held its own Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) event on Sunday 25 January 2015, where diversity was the point of emphasis.
Rabbi Janet Darley, of the South London Liberal Synagogue, pointed out that Lambeth being such a mixed borough made this event particularly powerful. ‘People have different religions, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. The power is that we celebrate this diversity, and through it, keep the memory alive.’
You can read more about this event on the Brixton Blog here.
Details of this year’s activities have yet to be announced but an event is being planned for the Ashes Suite, Kia Oval on Sunday 24th January 2016.
I have put up a display at International House on the 6th floor (see picture above) and plan to use the Lambeth hate crime social media profiles (this blog and the Lambethhcc twitter profile) to promote HMD awareness in Lambeth.
The theme “Don’t stand by” is particularly useful as it enables us to have a conversation with people about those people who stood by whilst these atrocities were being commited and celebrate those who didn’t stand by who helped save thousands of lives.
It is important to encourage people to not stand by – to encourage them to report the hate crime they witness or experience in our communities. In Lambeth we encourage people to report hate crime to the police by calling 999 in an emergency, 101 if not. If people don’t want to report to the police then they can report to the council via our on-line hate crime reporting form.
Alternatively independent advice and support organisations are listed in the hate crime strands section of this blog.