15 January 2015

Keep The Memory Alive

‘If something happens, I would want there to be somebody who would remember
that someone named D. Berger had once lived. This will make things easier for me in the difficult moments.’ David Berger, a young, Jewish, man from Poland, wrote these words in his last letter to a friend before he was murdered by Nazi soldiers in Lithuania in 1941.

It was this need to be remembered that prompted the United Nations to inaugurate an international day to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust. January 27th was chosen - the date that Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp, was liberated in 1945.

2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust. In the UK, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) are marking the anniversary with a project called: 70 Candles For 70 Years. The theme of this year's Memorial Day is 'Keeping the Memory Alive' and 70 specially designed candles will be lit around the UK.

"From Stornoway to Southend-on-Sea, and from Belfast to Bristol, the candles will symbolically link commemorations taking place across the UK, binding them together with a common thread in what is a significant anniversary year. Some of the locations that will be lighting the unique candles have been chosen due to their historical significance, such as Lowestoft Railway Station where 200 Kindertransport refugees arrived in December 1938. Other locations demonstrate the geographic reach of Holocaust Memorial Day as we highlight events in each corner of the UK." HMDT (UK)

27 January is the day for everyone to remember the 6 million Jewish people and over a million others, systematically murdered in the Holocaust under Nazi persecution.  It is also the day to remember the subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur. On Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) we can honour the survivors of these atrocities and challenge ourselves to use the lessons of their experiences to make a difference in our lives today.


Join with thousands of others who will be coming together on the 27th January  to remember the past and consider the part they can play in challenging hatred and creating a safer, better future.

Holocaust Memorial Day Events across the UK






If you want to know more about events taking place across the UK visit the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust's website hmd.org.uk.  For more information and resources on HMD 2015 'Keep The Memory Alive' CLICK HERE. You can also order an activity pack to organise an event in your area HMD activity pack








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How Does Genocide Happen?


Genocide never just happens. There is always a set of circumstances which occur, or are created to build the climate in which genocide can occur. Genocide does not just take place on its own, it is a steady process which can begin if discrimination, racism and hatred are not checked and prevented. We’re fortunate here in the UK; we are not at obvious risk of genocide. However, discrimination has not ended, nor has the use of the language of hatred or exclusion. There is still much to do to create a safer future and HMD is an opportunity to start this process.

On Holocaust Memorial Day, we learn from those who have experienced oppression during the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and from subsequent genocides.

We each have an individual responsibility to ensure that differences are respected. We can all contribute towards creating a safer, better future.

THE PATH TO GENOCIDE:


Stage 1: Classification

The differences between people are not respected. There is a division of 'us' and 'them'. This can be carried out through the use of stereotypes, or excluding people who are perceived to be different.

Stage 2: Symbolisation


This is a visual manifestation of hatred. Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe were forced to wear yellow stars to show that they were 'different'.

Stage 3: Dehumanisation

Those who are perceived as 'different' are treated with no form of human right or personal dignity. During the Rwandan genocide, Tutsis were referred to as 'cockroaches'; the Nazis referred to Jews as 'vermin'.

Stage 4: Organisation

Genocides are always planned. Regimes of hatred often train those who are to carry out the destruction of a people.

Stage 5: Polarisation

Propaganda begins to be spread by hate groups. The Nazis used the newspaper Der Sturmer to spread and incite messages of hate about Jewish people.

Stage 6: Preparation

Victims are identified based on their diffences. At the beginning of the Cambodian genocide, the Khmer Rouge separated out those who lived in cities and did not work in the fields. Jews in Nazi Europe were forced to live in ghettos.

Stage 7: Extermination

The hate group murders their identified victims in a deliberate and systematic campaign of violence. Millions of lives have been destroyed or changed beyond recognition through genocide.

Stage 8: Denial

The perpetrators or later generations deny the existence of any crime.

Based on Gregory H. Stanton's "8 Stages of Genocide" www.genocidewatch.org