Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on Wednesday – a day which marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau and genocides worldwide.
This year’s Cheshire East Council commemorative event will be held online and will include a reading and poem from council leader Councillor Sam Corcoran and a reading of a survivor’s testimony from the Rwandan genocide by deputy leader Councillor Craig Browne.
There will be further contributions from the council’s executive director of corporate services, Jane Burns and from Judith Hayman from the Northern Holocaust Education Trust. Judith is also a second generation Holocaust survivor. The service will be led by Cheshire East mayor, Councillor Barry Burkhill.
Holocaust Memorial Day has taken place on the same date since it was introduced in 2001. January 27 was the chosen date as Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated by Soviet troops in 1945. The day is also for remembering the many other attempted genocides across the world that have happened since.
The Holocaust resulted in the annihilation of an estimated six million Jews, two million Gypsies, 15,000 homosexual people and millions of others by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.
Since 1945, there have been several other attempted genocides across the world – including Rwanda, Cambodia and Bosnia – and these are also commemorated on Holocaust Memorial Day. This is the ninth consecutive year the council has held an annual Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration service.
Cllr Corcoran said: “The importance of remembering the millions of lives lost in genocides worldwide on Holocaust Memorial Day is as vital this year as it is any other. A global pandemic will not stop us from commemorating this very special and poignant occasion.”
Cllr Browne said: “It is staggering to think about the atrocities that mankind has committed on people. Reflecting on these inhumane acts serves as a further reminder that we must try to create a tolerant society where we all treat each other with respect and kindness.”
The council’s virtual service will be on Wednesday from 11am–12pm This year’s online event will be held on Microsoft Teams.
You can also watch the national Holocaust Memorial Day virtual ceremony on Wednesday at 7pm, details of which can be found here.
At 8pm on Wednesday, people are invited to unite with the nation in ‘lighting the darkness’, joining households from across the UK to light candles and safely display them in their windows to remember the victims, why their lives were taken and to stand against prejudice and hatred today.