Plymouth marks Holocaust Memorial Day

On Wednesday 27 January, Plymouth remembers the millions who were persecuted and died in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda and in regions like Darfur and Nineveh and in the cities of Srebrenica and Halabja. 

Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, on the 27 January 1945, and is an opportunity for everyone to stand together with their local community across all boundaries of difference.

The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2021 is ‘Be the light in the darkness’. The day encourages us to acknowledge the depths humanity can sink to and reflect on the ways individuals and communities have played their part in resisting racism and the path to genocide. We can all choose to be the light in the darkness in a variety of ways, whether at home, in public, or online.

Holocaust Memorial Day is a significant civic event in Plymouth. This year, in the absence of large gatherings due to the lockdown restrictions, we are illuminating the Guildhall and Smeaton’s Tower with the HMD’s associated purple lighting at sunset.

The Council are also sharing a short film that was produced in partnership with the Plymouth Centre for Faiths and Cultural Diversity. The film is introduced by the Lord Mayor of Plymouth, and features a number of representatives from Plymouth’s communities and provides the opportunity for each contributor to share why Holocaust Memorial Day is important and why we all need to ‘be the light in the darkness’.

The Lord Mayor, Councillor Chris Mavin, said: “Holocaust Memorial Day does not ask us simply to remember on a specific day each year. It’s about what we do once we have learned the lessons of the past.

“When we commemorate this day, it challenges each of us is to let those lessons inform our behaviour, our language and the way in which we treat those who are different to us.

“Holocaust Memorial Day asks us to make a difference to the way in which we live our lives now and in the future. We must be that light in the darkness.”

Councillor Chris Penberthy, Cabinet for Housing and Co-operative Development said: “Holocaust Memorial Day enables us to remember and work towards a safer future across all of our communities.

“This is our opportunity to stand together, not only to reflect and remember the terrible events of the past, but to celebrate our diversity and make clear our determination that these tragic events should never be repeated.”

For information on Holocaust Memorial Day, see the dedicated page on our website: www.plymouth.gov.uk/holocaustmemorialday