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Holocaust Memorial Day: honouring the needless inhumanity

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Tonight in the UK, a ceremony will go ahead at 7PM to honour the victims of the Nazi holocaust and other genocide-related atrocities

The Holocaust Memorial Day encourages remembrance in a world scarred by genocide. On the 27th of January, the world comes together to remember the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, alongside the millions of other people killed under Nazi Persecution and in genocides that followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

The 27th of January marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.

Holocaust Memorial Day was created on 27th January 2000, when representatives from 46 governments around the world met in Stockholm to discuss Holocaust education, remembrance and research.

The theme for this years Holocaust Memorial Day is “Be a light in the darkness”, encouraging everyone to reflect on the depths humanity can sink to, but also the ways individuals and communities resisted that darkness to ‘be the light’ before, during and after genocide.

In the UK, you can watch the full ceremony live from 7PM here.

A candle lightning portion of the ceremony at 8PM encourages those watching and those who wish to show support and unity to place a candle in their window; a light in the darkness.

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust said, “The Holocaust threatened the fabric of civilisation, and genocide must still be resisted every day. Our world often feels fragile and vulnerable and we cannot be complacent. Even in the UK, prejudice and the language of hatred must be challenged by us all.

“HMD is for everyone. Each year across the UK, thousands of people come together to learn more about the past and take action to create a safer future. We know they learn more, empathise more and do more.

Together we bear witness for those who endured genocide, and honour the survivors and all those whose lives were changed beyond recognition.”

It is always so important to learn lessons from our past as the old cliché goes; but there is nothing cliched about the message. The necessity of understanding human history, the unbelievable capacity for evil human beings have, and just how easily a society can find itself persecuting members of that society is of constant paramount importance to remember. Never forget the fine line between good and evil, and how if we are not vigilant, groups and individuals can fan the flames of hatred to polarise people in a similar manner to our very-recent past.

Understanding prejudice, how it arises and how it is perpetuated, and how indeed we may be harbouring undue prejudice can help to minimise the likelihood of future atrocities committed to entire groups of people.

Only with constant vigilance and remembrance will we be able to perceive if the liberty our nations take such pride in becomes restricted to certain members of our society.

Watchfully, be a light in the darkness.

Featured Image Credit: Holocaust Memorial Day Trust

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