Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) takes place each year on 27 January.
The day seeks to remember the 6 million Jews who died during the Holocaust. It is also to remember the millions of others who were targeted by Nazi persecution. Since then, the event has also been used to commemorate those persecuted in genocides from Cambodia to Darfur.
27 January was chosen because it marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. Therefore, the day can be seen as a reminder that things can get better as long as we learn from history.
This year’s theme
The theme for HMD 2023 is ‘Ordinary People’.
The theme teaches us that these events were committed by the people we might pass on the street every day. It teaches us that people do not have to be evil to take part in evil things.
However, it also shows that ordinary people did extraordinary things to help. Many ordinary people helped liberate the oppressed and many ordinary people continue to help to the present day.
How to take part
There are a number of ways to take part this year.
Visit The Lexicon
On Friday 27 January, between 5.30pm and 6.30pm, there will be a candle lighting ceremony in Bond Square at The Lexicon.
Visitors are advised to bring warm clothing if they want to take part.
Place a candle
Residents can place a candle safely in their window at 4pm on Friday, 27 January.
Residents can become part of the conversation too. They can do this online by sharing a photo of their candle and tagging the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Use the hashtags #HolocaustMemorialDay and #LightTheDarkness.
Time Square will be lit in purple from 4pm on Friday 27 January. We will be posting this to our own social media.
Bracknell Library will be marking Holocaust Memorial Day by inviting you to listen to podcasts. These will be discussing experiences of genocide. Survivors of the Holocaust, as well as more recent genocides, have used their voices to share their extraordinary experiences. This aims to help educate the world and ensure that future generations never have to live through the horror of genocide.
Staff will be on hand between 10am and 1pm (last drop-in 12:15pm). They will show you how to use library tablets to listen to the podcasts. Refreshments will be available and books will be on display to help learn, reflect and remember.
If you are not able to visit the library, you can listen to the Learning from Genocide podcasts from home on Spotify.
All Bracknell Forest libraries open on Holocaust Memorial Day are going to be lighting candles and putting them in a window to remember the victims of the Holocaust.
New for HMD 2023, the HMD Trust have created a short version of the 2023 UK Online Commemoration film. Perfect for schools, local councils and many more settings, this 20-minute film will set the scene as we hear testimony from Holocaust and genocide survivors about their experiences.
The film this year is called 'Ordinary People', to tie in with the theme of the event.
Download the Ordinary People film for free on the resource section of the HMD Trust website.
UK Online Commemoration
This year’s UK Online Commemoration will be streamed online on Thursday 26 January at 7pm.
You can register to watch the Online Commemoration on the memorial day section of the HMD Trust website.
It’s important that residents learn more about the Holocaust. Only through learning from history can we prevent similar events from happening.
The Holocaust was perhaps the defining episode of the 20th century. After the Holocaust, the international community adopted a legal definition of the crime of ‘genocide’. They wanted to make sure that never again would the crimes of the Holocaust be allowed to happen.
You can find out more about this on the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust website.
In Bracknell Forest, we are proud of the strength of our local communities. The strength of ordinary people here helps us remember to be vigilant against any form of prejudice.