January 2023

SWINDON will mark HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY 2023 at 12 noon on Friday 27 JANUARY 2023

Holocaust Memorial Day 2023
Holocaust Memorial Day 2023

Holocaust Memorial Day 2023 will comprise three parts:

Part one

At 12 noon on Friday 27th January at the Cenotaph in Regent Circus there will be a short (20-minute) ceremony, including talk and wreath-laying.

Part two

At 12.30 pm the same day, Friday 27th January, at the Friends Meeting House, Eastcott Hill, there’ll be a gathering for readings and reflection. There’ll be light lunchtime refreshments, including sandwiches and hot drinks. It’s expected this gathering will last an hour. Further, there’ll be readings and presentations by members of many of Swindon’s faith groups and community groups, along with contributions from individuals.

Part three

At 6.30pm in the auditorium in the sixth form centre at the Commonweal School, The Mall, SN1 4JE there’ll be a free showing of the award-winning documentary film Final Account. The late Luke Holland, a former pupil of The Commonweal School made the film.

Luke’s film takes a close look at the involvement of ‘ordinary people’ in the mid-European mid-twentieth century genocide. It comprises interviews with the last living generation of Hitler’s Third Reich. It also raises key questions about authority, conformity, obedience, national identity, and people’s roles in the decisions and directions taken by their own government. Questions that may still be relevant today.

Holocaust Memorial Day Theme

NOTE. The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day this year is ORDINARY PEOPLE. In the main the theme acknowledges two things.

One: that ordinary people faciltate genocide. They do so by turning a blind eye, believing propaganda, and joining murderous regimes.

Two: that those persecuted, oppressed, and murdered in genocide are not persecuted because of crimes they’ve committed. No, it’s simply because they are ordinary people who belong to a particular group, class, or race of which others disapprove. Ordinary people still suffer such persecution today.

The aftermath of the Holocaust and of subsequent genocides continues to raise challenging questions for individuals, communities, and nations.

HMD 2023 asks people to think about what happens before and after genocide, war, and persecution. And of our own responsibilities in relation to such matters of life and death.

The background

Holocaust Memorial Day was first marked nationally in the UK in 2001. It’s now established as an annual day of remembrance. Local authorities, faith and community groups and individuals were asked to take a lead in developing local memorial events and appropriate activities.

In Swindon, we decided to mark this day and have done so every year of this century.

The date, 27 January, marks the 1945 day of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camps.

The day also encourages people to remember many other human rights tragedies around the world. Tragedies including persecution and wars, past and present. It aims to help raise awareness among young people.

Encouraged to mark it, Swindon schools have done so in recent years, in imaginative and educational ways.

Participation

Anyone with appropriate personal stories or readings is welcome to speak or read at the gathering at Friends’ Meeting House. If you’d like to do that then contact Matt Holland at 01793 771080 or matt@lowershawfarm.co.uk beforehand, or speak to him on the day.

You can find further information, and a more national perspective, about Holocaust Memorial Day at www.hmd.org.uk

Holocaust Memorial Day 2023 - memorial in Berlin
Holocaust Memorial Day 2023 – memorial in Berlin



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