Holocaust Memorial Day
What is Holocaust Memorial Day?
27 January is the day for everyone to mark Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) by remembering the millions of people murdered in the Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution and in the subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. 27 January also marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. On HMD we honour the survivors of these regimes and challenge ourselves to use the lessons of their experiences to inform our lives today.
On HMD you will be joining thousands of others who come together at activities all over the UK to learn the lessons of the past and 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 immediate 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 10 stages of Genocide
Genocide never just happens. There is always a set of circumstances which occur or which are created to build the climate in which genocide can take place.
Gregory H Stanton, President of Genocide Watch developed the 10 stages of genocide which explains the different stages which lead to genocide. At each of the earlier stages there is an opportunity for members of the community or the International Community to halt the stages and stop genocide before it happens.
Be the Light in the Darkness
Each year Holocaust Memorial Day takes on a new theme. The theme for HMD 2021 is ‘Be the Light in the Darkness’. It encourages everyone to reflect on the depths humanity can sink to, but also the ways individuals and communities resisted that darkness to ‘be the light’ before, during and after genocide.
Below you can view the virtual exhibition exploring the theme of ‘Be the Light in the Darkness’.
Holocaust Memorial Day Digital Exhibition
Ashford’s Virtual Ceremony
A socially distanced virtual ceremony including the Mayor’s Chaplin, the Portfolio Holder and Deputy Portfolio Holder for Culture, Tourism and Leisure will be available to view on 27 January. The pre-recorded ceremony was filmed in separate locations including The Parish Church of St Michael & All Angles in Tenterden, Ashford’s WWI Tank and Registered War Memorial, and Civic Park.
The above images include the Reverend John Emmott who is the Chaplin to the Mayor of Ashford, Cllr Matthew Forest who is the Portfolio Holder for Culture, Tourism and Leisure, and Cllr Jenny Webb who is the Deputy Portfolio Holder for Culture, Tourism and Leisure.
Timeline of Holocaust Memorial Day Events
8pm: Join the nation and Light the darkness
Light a candle and put it in your window at 8pm on 27 January. To remember those who were murdered for who they were.
8.05pm: Share with the nation
Upload a photo of your candle on social media, using the hashtags #HolocaustMemorialDay #LightTheDarkness #HMDAshford
Ashford’s Memorial Gardens and Anne Frank Tree
Ashford Memorial Gardens is an area of remembrance for those that lost their lives in conflict at home and around the world.
The Memorial Gardens also houses the Anne Frank Memorial Tree planted on 11 June 1991 to commemorate Anne Frank and all other children killed in wars and conflicts in the 20th century.
Anne Frank (1929-1945) was a young Jewish girl of German-Dutch descent. Her parents moved to the Netherlands from Germany shortly after Adolf Hitler came to power and made life increasingly difficult for Jews. In 1942, Frank and her family went into hiding in a secret compartment behind her father’s business in German-occupied Amsterdam. They lived in constant fear of being discovered and Anne kept a diary in which she recorded her observations and feelings about the war, humanity and her own identity.
"It's utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death. I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness. I hear the approaching thunder that will one day destroy us too. I feel the suffering of millions... In the meantime I must hold onto my ideals. Perhaps the day will come when I'll be able to realise them."
Anne Frank’s Diary 15 July 1944 (inscribed on a plaque next to the Anne Frank Tree).
The plaque next to the Anne Frank Memorial Tree in Memorial Gardens, Ashford, was replaced on 27 January 2001 to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. It was sponsored by Ashford Borough Council and arranged by the Anne Frank Education Trust UK.
To mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2020 the former Mayor of Ashford, Cllr Jenny Webb visited a small exhibition in the Ashford Gateway building and laid a posy at the Anne Frank Memorial Tree (the images below were taken before the Coronavirus pandemic).
The former Mayor of Ashford, Cllr Jenny Webb and Cllr Paul Clokie lay a posy at the Anne Frank Tree in Memorial Gardens for Holocaust Memorial Day 2020.
Former Mayor of Ashford, Cllr Jenny Webb, Portfolio Holder for Culture, Tourism and Leisure, Cllr Matthew Forest, and Cllr Paul Clokie attended the ‘Stand Together’ Holocaust Memorial Day 2020 exhibition in Ashford’s Gateway Building.
Art Challenge - HMD Lantern Making
Join Victoria and make your very own HMD lantern from a milk carton. Don't forget to share the pictures of your finished lantern on social media using the hashtags #HolocaustMemorialDay #LightTheDarkness #HMDAshford
Virtual Book Club
You can mark Holocaust Memorial Day by choosing to read and discuss a book about the Holocaust or more recent genocides. This activity is perfect for schools, colleges, universities, youth groups and workplaces. Alternatively, friends, neighbours, colleagues or interested members of your community can get involved too.
This resource includes a number of fiction and non-fiction options for exploring the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and the genocides that followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. You could combine your book discussion with a minute of silence or a candle lighting as an act of remembrance. For suggested books and discussion questions go to the Holocaust Memorial Day website.