Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD), established in 2000, is marked each year on 27th January – the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. On and around this day, schools, communities and faith groups across the UK join together in national and local events to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and of more recent genocides. It is also an opportunity to consider the contemporary relevance of the Holocaust. The day is co-ordinated by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, a charity founded for this purpose in 2005.

Janine Webber BEM speaking at HMD event

The Holocaust was the murder of six million Jewish men, women and children by the Nazis and their collaborators. It was a defining event in human history; its legacies continue to shape the modern world whilst the challenging questions it raises about human behaviour have universal relevance. HMD can therefore encourage us to reflect on our own actions and responsibilities, both as individuals and as a society. Each year’s HMD has a different theme, decided by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, as a focus for educational and commemorative events. The theme for 2021 is ‘Be the Light in the Darkness’. 

As the Holocaust Educational Trust marks HMD 2021, we encourage reflection on Jewish resistance during the Holocaust; rescue; justice; the legacy of Holocaust survivors; and the action of educating the next generation to carry these stories forward. Each of these in its own way relates to the theme ‘Be the Light in the Darkness’.

This HMD we pay tribute to these opportunities for light in the darkness. We also remember that for most, the story of the Holocaust was not the story of successful resistance or rescue, or of survival, and that justice was not served.

Find out more how you can explore these subthemes in your school or commemorative event using the links below.