Today, 27 January, is Holocaust Memorial Day, which marks the liberation of the largest Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, in 1945.
Holocaust Memorial Day began in the UK 2001, and has been marked every year on the same date since.The UK played a leading role in establishing Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) as an international day of commemoration in 2000, when 46 governments signed the Stockholm Declaration.
The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2018 is: “Words can make a difference – both for good and evil.”
The date for the annual commemoration was chosen because of its significance in Holocaust history and now the day remembers the victims of the Nazi genocide of six million Jews, 2 million Gypsies, 15,000 homosexuals and millions of others. The day also commemorates the victims of genocide in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.
Many years on, we have not forgotten the impact that the Holocaust had on the world. Denial of it is punishable with prison time, but we also celebrate the victories won in its shadow, like Sir Nicholas Winton’s operation to rescue Czechoslovakian children or Frank Foley’s provision of passports and visas to Jews fleeing the Nazis.
Since those fateful discoveries at the closing of the Second World War, the UK Armed Forces have fought hard against many other attempted genocides. In the 1990s British troops entered Bosnia & Herzegovina and Kosovo in part to prevent the genocide and ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the Republic of Srpska and Serbia under Slobodan Milosevic.
More recently, British forces have been training personnel to combat the growing status of groups like Boko Haram and Islamic State, which have shown that, if given the opportunity to commit mass murder, is not beyond them to do so for something as trivial as a person being Christian or homosexual.
How to get involved.
There will be dozens of events and exhibitions held to mark the Holocaust on January 27 across the country.
Check local listings in your area for regional events or visit the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (Website here)