Holocaust Memorial Day in Newcastle

Holocaust Memorial Day in Newcastle

Holocaust Memorial Day takes place every year on 27 January, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by allied troops.  It is a day to remember the millions of people murdered in the Holocaust and in the genocides that have followed.  Each year Holocaust Memorial Day focuses on a theme that aims to help us learn more about the past, to empathise with others and to work towards a better future.  

Newcastle has been an active and committed contributor to the National Holocaust Memorial Day programme since it began in 2000.  The programme allows our city to not only commemorate and show respect for the victims of the Holocaust and other genocides but to engage with residents from all backgrounds to deliver a programme of creative and educational activities which:

  • Identifies and examines discrimination and discriminatory behaviour and the consequences
  • Encourages appropriate opposition
  • Fosters better understanding of the origins and history of communities that have arrived in our city more recently
  • Encourages greater tolerance and social inclusion; and
  • Contributes to the council's ambitions around equality.  

Newcastle's programme is recognised nationally and, in 2007, our city was the first in the UK, other than the national capitals, to host the National Commemorative Event.  In 2015, the council decided to move from delivering the activities itself to offering funding for independent projects which provided a focal point for remembrance.  The programme, which included lectures, exhibitions, films, plays, concerts work shops and learning activities, was a great success and created opportunities for more communities to take part in a way that not only reflected the diversity of Newcastle but made use of the wide range of skills, knowledge and commitment that is available in our city.  

Our Holocaust Memorial Day activities have continued to be organised in this inclusive way ever since.

Holocaust Memorial Day 2024 - 'Fragility of Freedom' in Newcastle

"They say: ' You have your freedom now , be happy'. There was no way I could be joyful becaus I missed my brothers and sisters, always, to this very day. When the holidays came and people celebrated, or families sat together, that was the inner thing, this nervous strain came. That was very hard." - Otto Rosenburg, Sinti Holocaust survivor. 

 The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2024 is Fragility of Freedom. The theme considers what freedom means to different people and how in every genocide those who are persecuted have their freedoms restricted and removed.

Fragility of Freedom recognises that freedom can easily be lost or stolen, that we should never be complacent and take our freedom for granted. Freedom can easily be destroyed. The Nazis' used the Nuremberg Laws to take away Jewish people's rights In Rwanda the state controlled radio demanded Tutsi people stayed in their homes even as the soldiers broke through at the start of the 100 day genocide that saw over 800,000 people killed. 

In every genocide the perpetrators take away freedoms that ultimately lead to ending the freedom to live. Millions have died in concentration camps, ghettos and killing fields. 

And for those who survive, life is never the same again. They understand the Fragility of Freedom. They know that in as little as one night the freedoms we take for granted can be gone.

Some freedoms may be returned but others are lost forever. Building new lives in different countries while being afraid to express themselves freely. Many know that while they may have escaped their families, friends and loved ones may still face danger in their home country.

In a world where hatred and discrimination still exist we all need to remember the Fragility of Freedom

Find out more about Holocaust Memorial Day 2024 and how you can get involved here.

Holocaust Memorial Day 2023 - 'Ordinary People' in Newcastle

"People may think that they have nothing to do with my story. But what happened to me, could happen to them – to people like yourself. It may sound too hard to believe but this doesn’t happen to strangers who live far away. I’m just an ordinary person. These terrible things can happen to people like us." - Kemal Pervanić, survivor, Bosnia

The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2023 is Ordinary People. The theme will consider how Ordinary People were involved in all aspects of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. How Ordinary People were perpetrators, bystanders, witnesses and rescuers and how those who were persecuted, oppressed and murdered are Ordinary People who were targeted for belonging to a group or community that their persecutors did not like..

Holocaust Memorial Day 2023 will also be a day for Ordinary People, people like us, to think about how we can play a role in challenging the prejudice, discrimination and hatred that still exists in the world today.

Find out more about Holocaust Memorial Day 2023 and how you can get involved here.

Did you know?

10,000 unaccompanied children in Nazi territories between the ages of 5 and 16 were given refuge in the UK. This was a unique humanitarian operation which became known as the Kindertransport.

Jewish refugee children on a train

Read more about at    Kindertransport and refugees

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