Holocaust Memorial Day

Tees Valley Combined Authority | Published on: 24th January 2024




What is Holocaust Memorial Day?

Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) takes place every year on 27 January, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. It is an international day to remember the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, alongside the millions of other people killed under Nazi persecution of other groups and in the more recent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. It is an occasion for everyone to come together to learn, remember and reflect.

Every year, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) selects a theme for HMD and this year it is Fragility of Freedom. This reflects on how genocide victims has their freedoms curtailed during persecution, and how we need to value the freedoms we have in western democracies while recognising how many people around the world still face restrictions to their freedoms.

A message from the Tees Valley Mayor

Living in the UK in 2024, it’s essential we never forget the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, alongside the millions of others murdered under Nazi persecution. But this, and other examples throughout history, strike at the very heart of our values as a western democracy and should never be ignored or forgotten.

This year’s theme, Fragility of Freedom, puts into stark focus how precious individual liberty is – the right to be who you are and live how you want to live. Freedom is precious and open to abuse and is threatened across the world each and every day – with recent events bringing back in to sharp focus that so much more still needs to be done.

Regardless of politics, Holocaust Memorial Day is a time to bring communities together in collective remembrance for the millions persecuted and killed for who they were. It’s a time to stand up to bigotry and hatred and recognise our common humanity, learning lessons from the past to build a better future together.

Ben Houchen
Tees Valley Mayor

Local Activities

Thousands of local activities and HMD commemorations take place all over the UK, each year. To see what is taking place near you, search the HMD Map: hmd.org.uk/map

Teesworks will be lit in purple to Light the Darkness and raise awareness of Holocaust Memorial Day, and our constituent Local Authorities also have plans of their own.

In Darlington at 7pm on Wednesday 24 January, a ceremony will be held at Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College. The free ceremony will be led by Dr John Ellison, supported by students from the college, some of whom have visited Auschwitz and will be speaking about their visit.

In Hartlepool, a day-long programme of events will take place on 27 January. Organised by Stand Together, a group of young people aged 13-18 and supported by Hartlepool Youth Service, the online event will take place at www.facebook.com/hartlepoolyouthservices from 10am to 8pm. This will include a video charting the ten stages of genocide and look at children’s books promoting kindness and tolerance created by Stand Together.

People are also invited to a special screening of the 2023 Ken Loach film The Old Oak. It tells the story of how a young Syrian woman and a pub landlord join forces to unite two traumatised communities in the North East. Places must be booked by noon on Thursday 25 January by emailing [email protected]

In Stockton-on-Tees, an event will be held at Stockton Central Library form 5.30pm to 6.30mp on Thursday, 25 January. This will include the presentation of the Testimony of Killy Hart-Moxon, a survivor of Auschwitz-Birkenau and talks from students who recently visited Auschwitz.

The event is ticketed but free and has limited places – visit www.stockton.gov.uk/book-library-event to book.

The National Moment – Light the Darkness

On 27 January at 8pm everyone is invited to light a candle and safely place it in their window to remember those who were murdered for who they were and stand against prejudice and hatred today

We are all lighting the darkness on #HolocaustMemorialDay.

About the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) is a registered charity, funded by the UK Government, to promote and support HMD. They provide resources and support for thousands of HMD activities every year in workplaces, youth groups, museums, prisons, schools, colleges and universities, places of worship, and more.

To learn more about HMD and this year’s theme, or to access free resources, visit hmd.org.uk

The UK Ceremony

Each year HMDT organises an invitation only UK Commemorative Ceremony for HMD. This is the focal point of HMD in the UK and brings together the civic, faith and political leadership of the country, alongside survivors of the Holocaust and more recent genocides.  On HMD curated moments from the UK ceremony will be broadcast ending with our national moment ‘Light the Darkness’ at 8pm.

To be notified on when to register for access to the ceremony moments and to stay informed regarding ‘Light the Darkness’ please sign up to the HMDT newsletter at hmd.org.uk/newsletter

To find out more about the next UK ceremony for Holocaust Memorial Day, go to hmd.org.uk

To contact HMDT, please email [email protected] or call 020 7785 7029.

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