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Plymouth marks Holocaust Memorial Day

23 January 2023
Holocaust Memorial Day
Holocaust Memorial Day tribute with flowers

A public memorial event is being held in the Peace Garden on the Hoe to mark Holocaust Memorial Day on Friday 27 January at 11am. The short event will provide an opportunity for local communities to reflect.

Holocaust Memorial Day marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, on 27 January 1945. The day remembers the millions of people who were persecuted and died in the Holocaust and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

The theme set by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust for this year’s commemorative activities is ‘Ordinary People’. Holocaust Memorial Day encourages us all to think about a day in the future free from genocide and persecution and asks us to consider the small steps that we can all take to work towards that.

Plymouth has the oldest Ashkenazi synagogue in the English-speaking world and the Jewish cemetery is one of the oldest in the UK. It stands as evidence of the deep roots the Jewish community has here. The Council has committed to making Holocaust Memorial Day a civic event each year and has organised this event in partnership with the Plymouth Centre for Faiths and Cultural Diversity. To mark the day, the Council will be lighting the Guildhall purple.

Councillor Sue Dann, Lord Mayor of Plymouth said: “The Council is committed to marking Holocaust Memorial Day as a civic event and promoting cohesion amongst communities.

“Holocaust Memorial Day provides an important space for us to think about the past and consider how and what we have learnt from history, as well as providing a time for reflection and remembrance. The memorial event at the Peace Garden which is open to the public, is an opportunity for local residents to learn and come together to better understand our differences and the role that as each one of us as ordinary people play in our communities .”

Arezoo Farahzad, Plymouth Centre for Faith and Cultural Diversity, said: “It is humbling and a privilege for the Centre to collaborate with the Council to remember the victims of genocide.

“My own family settled in Plymouth back in the 1970s as a result of the ongoing persecution of members of the Bahá’i Faith in Iran. My parents were also just ordinary people going about their daily lives. But overnight, life as they knew it changed forever.

“Friday’s event is not just an occasion to remember the victims, but the heroes who arose to defend and protect the oppressed. I hope as many people as possible can find time to join us on the Hoe at 11am.”