Commemorating the Holocaust

A stained glass memorial inside the Polish national exhibition: ‘The Struggle and Martyrdom of the Polish Nation 1939-1945’, Auschwitz State Museum, Poland.
© 2011 Garry Clarkson

In January 2000, 44 governments from around the world met in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, to discuss the importance of Holocaust education, remembrance and research. Many governments undertook to establish an annual Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD).

From 2001, the UK established 27 January as HMD. That date was chosen because that was the date of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

In the UK HMD is concerned with remembering the victims and those whose lives have been changed beyond recognition as a result of the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and subsequent genocides. The HMD Trust says “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.” In this way we are able to learn about the Holocaust and other genocides.

On HMD the different peoples within our communities come together to remember, memorialise and learn. It’s an opportunity for groups or organisations to remember the past and commit to a better future. HMD can be commemorated individually or collectively. Each year, the HMD Trust announces "a theme for HMD, which provides a focal point and a shared message for the hundreds of events, which take place around the UK".