On the 27th of January the world will remember one of the most horrific and infamous genocides in history. 6 Million Jews were killed during Hitler’s quest for the “perfect” Arian race. This was a Nazi-state led programme that killed two-thirds of the Jewish population that lived in Europe before the Second World War.
Millions of lives were lost from countries across the globe, however the holocaust is one of the stories that is foremost in the mind of many when the tragedies of the Second World War are remembered. It is a blot on human kind that has been commemorated annually in the UK since 2001 and the United Nations recognised it as an international event in 2005. This year the theme is “Untold stories”, where the public will be encouraged to think beyond the statistics of the murdered millions and look into the personal stories of the “mother”, “daughter” or “grandparent” for instance, who make up the millions slaughtered.
Organisers of HMD believe the telling of the “Untold stories” is vital to recognise the consequences of exclusion and persecution in order to learn lessons of the past. Evidently lessons of the past are yet to be learnt, and HMD is also about remembering the lives of those lost and affected by subsequent genocides including in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and the on-going atrocities in Darfur.
The 27th of January marks HMD as it was this date in 1945 that the largest Nazi killing camp Auschwitz-Burkenau was liberated. There are several events running across the country to mark the day, and many are in London including in the Jewish Museum, the Imperial War Museum and the Bruce Castle Museum to name just a few.
Events in London
The Jewish Museum will be holding a special ceremony featuring a survivor’s testimony abut her escape from Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia. This free event starts at 6:30 on 27th of January, and includes music by the Jewish Youth Choir. Art enthusiasts can visit Bruce Castle Museum, which is playing host to a special exhibition to the mark the event. Untold Stories: Living proof exhibition features portraits of Holocaust survivors in and around Haringey. It runs from the 12th of January until the 27th of March.
However if it is a traditional museum that attracts more interest in commemorating the day, then visit the Imperial War Museum. They are holding a number of events the whole year in memory, and there is a family session specifically for HMD to learn more about the Holocaust. This takes place on the weekend of the 29th of January from 11am.