Holocaust Memorial Day: journeys of despair and hope

Holocaust Memorial Day, marking the liberation of prisoners from the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and the Nazi death machine generally, as well as earlier and more recent genocides across the world, is being observed in Britain today (27 January 2014).

This year the focus is on the multitude of journeys that people were forced to undertake, in fear of what would be found at the end. But also the journeys of hope of refugees, survivors and resisters.

The horrific sufferings of the Jews, black people, LGBT persons, disabled people, the Roma and many other groups and persons singled out for deliberate, systematic slaughter because of their ethnic and other characteristics, will be commemorated.

Campaigners are also keen that genocides in Cambodia and elsewhere are remembered.

There is growing pressure for the worldwide recognition of the Armenian Genocide, 1915-1923, too.

Actress Helena Bonham Carter, broadcaster Natasha Kaplinsky and Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis are among those who have been chosen to sit on a newly-announced UK government-backed Commission on the Holocaust.

It has been tasked with looking at what should be done to establish a permanent memorial to the Nazi holocaust.

The Commission is due to report its findings in time for the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, in April 2015.

Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, Karen Pollock MBE, commented: “There can be no more fitting assurance to survivors to know that, as their number sadly declines, we are looking ahead to ensure that there is a permanent and fitting memorial to the Holocaust in this country. The Prime Minister’s national Holocaust Commission is a significant step in achieving that goal.”

* More about HMD on Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/hmd

* Holocaust Memorial Day Trust: http://www.hmd.org.uk

* Holocaust Educational Trust: http://www.het.org.uk/

* More on the Armenian Genocide from Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/armeniangenocide

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 England & Wales License. Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.