Next week we’ll be standing in solidarity with communities around the world as we commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day 2023, a day to reflect and remember the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust and the genocide regimes that followed.
Holocaust Memorial Day is commemorated on the 27 January each year - a poignant date that marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp, where more than a million people were murdered. The day provides an opportunity for all generations to come together and learn more about the past, feel empathy and honour the survivors. It’s also an opportunity to think about the prejudices prevalent today and be inspired to create a safer future.
This year’s theme for the day, ‘ordinary people’, highlights that ordinary people were involved in all aspects of the Holocaust and genocides that followed. Perpetrators were ordinary people who abused their power to discriminate, persecute and murder people; bystanders were ordinary people who let the genocide take place around them; rescuers were ordinary people who did extraordinary things, risking their lives to help others and victims of genocide were ordinary people - they simply had an aspect of their identity that the perpetrators did not like.
This year, we’re honoured to commemorate the day in a number of ways across the borough, providing a programme of events and activities, enabling all generations to get involved, or feel part of the commemorations:
Barnsley Holocaust Memorial Event, Barnsley Town Hall, Friday 27 January 2023, 6pm to 7.30pm
Everyone is welcome to attend Barnsley's Holocaust Memorial Event, organised by the Barnsley Holocaust Day group, with support from Barnsley Trades Union Council. The event, which has been held in Barnsley every year since 2001, will include words of reflection from the Mayor of Barnsley, Cllr Sarah-Jane Tattersall and Stephanie Peacock, MP. You will also hear a number of talks and presentations, including the background to the Holocaust by Horizon College pupils, the modern flight from persecution by a Refugee Ambassador, a young person’s view of the Holocaust and visits to Auschwitz. There’s no need to book, just come along and enjoy the evening. For further information, please email the event organiser at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lighting up the Town Hall, Friday 27 January, from 4pm
We will #lightthedarkness in Barnsley, alongside other iconic buildings and landmarks across the country, by lighting up our magnificent town hall in the Holocaust colour of purple. This will honour all those who lost their lives to genocide and stand against the prejudice we still see today, symbolising our drive to create a safe future for the borough.
Lighting up the Darkness at home and online
Get involved at home and join the nation in solidarity by lighting a candle at 8pm and displaying it in your window – if safe to do so. You can also get involved online by downloading and sharing this flickering Holocaust candle gif on your social media pages to demonstrate your support and remembrance.
Holocaust Memorial Writing Competition, deadline Friday 27 January, 5pm
Our fabulous library services, in partnership with Off the Shelf, are running a writing competition open to all Barnsley residents aged 18 years or over, to reflect, be creative and express their thoughts. For full details of the competition, how to enter and full terms and conditions, please visit our competition webpage.
Holocaust Memorial Guest Speakers
We will be welcoming guest speakers throughout the week leading up to and on Holocaust Memorial Day at Library @ the Lightbox and online, sharing insights, stories and reflections. Speakers include author Peter Bradley, historian and author Lucy Adlington and Marta Seiler. Click on the links for full details and to book your place.
The Mayor of Barnsley, Cllr Sarah-Jane Tattersall, said: “Holocaust Memorial Day is a day for us to stop, remember and talk about the millions of people who tragically lost their lives during the Holocaust just for being themselves – as well as the millions of other people in genocides that followed.
“As well as honouring all those people who lost their lives, it’s also very important for us to think about the prejudices and intolerances that we still so sadly face today around the world, including our very own borough. We must take this opportunity to consider how we can play a part in challenging these prejudices. Looking back at tragic events in history and continuing to share these historical events with future generations also plays a huge part in helping us to build a better, safer future and look at what we need to do to achieve this.
“This year’s theme, ordinary people, really highlights the point that everyone involved in genocides are just ordinary people, and survivors go on to live ordinary lives within our communities. What this also highlights is that ordinary people, like you and me, can make a difference in challenging the prejudices and intolerance we see today.
“It’s everyone’s responsibility to protect the rights of all people in society - especially here in our wonderful town of Barnsley and our No Place for Hate campaign reflects our ongoing commitment to this and recognises that everyone has a role to play.
“I’m delighted to see so many events and activities taking place in the borough this year and am really looking forward to attending and speaking at a number of the events myself. I hope as many residents as possible across the borough mark their respect for Holocaust Memorial Day, whether that be lighting a candle, attending an event or simply chatting to their children about the role we must all play in creating a safer, kinder world and future for Barnsley.”
For more information and ways to get involved, please visit the Holocaust Memorial Day website.