Many of you will have heard of the Holocaust Memorial Day, but not know a lot about it. It was created on 27th January 2000. Representatives from forty six governments around the globe came together and discussed the Holocaust education, its remembrance and also research. At the end of this meeting, all that attended signed a declaration, which committed them in preserving the memory of those who were murdered in the Holocaust. This very declaration is what became the statement of commitment which is still used to this day, as the basis for Holocaust Memorial Days activities.
On the 27th January everyone will pause and take the time to remember the millions of people who were murdered, and for those whose lives were dramatically altered beyond recognition during the Holocaust and Nazi Persecutions. This is the day which marks the Holocaust Memorial Day, which is a day where we can take pride in and honour those who survived the traumatic regimes. Many people will be asking why the 27th January? Well this date marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, which was one of the largest Nazi death camps.
Auschwitz was a collection of concentration and also extermination camps which were used during WWII. There were three main camps, Auschwitz I which was the basecamp, Auschwitz II-Birkenau being one of extermination. And Auschwitz III–Monowitz which was a labour camp to staff; an IG Farben factory and then 45 other satellite camps. It was created to hold Polish political prisoners, which started in May 1941. The first execution took place in September 1941.
Holocaust Memorial Day, is a time of reflection and learning, where people ascertain certain lessons from the past and it helps to recognise that genocide does not just take place on its own. It is a build up of discrimination, racism and hatred; things that could have been prevented if certain rules and regulations were in place to prevent such prejudice and inequality. Being part of the UK, we are very fortunate to not be at risk of genocide. However, saying this, discrimination, hatred and exclusion is still a part of everyday life. It is wrong, and needs to be stopped. HMD is a step in the right direction. It is a opportunity to stop the prejudices people encounter in daily life.
HMD activity organisers bring together communities to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day. This is a real manifestation and demonstration of how the lessons of the past can teach those of today, ensuring that we live in a safer and better world.
So please take a moment of your time on 27th January to remember all those were taken and to those who survived.