Each year on 27 January the world marks Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD). HMD has been held in the UK since 2001 and the United Nations declared this an International event in November 2005. 27 January was chosen as the date for HMD because it was on this date in 1945 that the largest Nazi killing camp Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated.
HMD is about remembering the victims and those whose lives have been changed beyond recognition of the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and the ongoing atrocities today in Darfur. HMD provides us with an opportunity to honour the survivors but it’s also a chance to look to our own lives and communities today. Genocide doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a gradual process which begins when the differences between us are not celebrated but used as a reason to exclude or marginalise. By learning from the lessons of the past, we can create a safer, better future.
Each year, we announce a theme for HMD which provides a focal point and a shared message for the hundreds of events which take place around the UK. The theme for HMD 2011 is Untold Stories.
Anyone can organise a HMD activity and we provide free resources to enable you to do so. Order our free Campaign Pack to find out how you can become involved. There’s no such thing as a right or wrong HMD event – whether events are for invited guests in a council chamber, open to the general public in a large public space or a closed event within a school or college – each event marks HMD as a key date in the equalities and human rights calendar.
HMD is a day for everyone. It’s an opportunity for all the diverse strands of our communities to come together. It’s also an opportunity for groups or organisations to remember the past and commit to creating a better future. HMD can be commemorated individually or collectively.
HMD has taken place in the UK since 2001. It was established at a meeting on 27 January 2000, when representatives from forty-four governments around the world met in Stockholm to discuss Holocaust education, remembrance and research. At the conclusion of the forum, the delegates unanimously signed a declaration. This forms the HMD Statement of Commitment which is used a basis for HMD events internationally.
Holocaust Memorial Day Trust