THE SIX million Jews murdered by the Nazi regime and all those who have lost their lives in genocides will be remembered in Leicester next week, as countries around the world mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
On Thursday (27 January), Holocaust Memorial Day will be marked with two online talks. The distinguished Holocaust scholar Professor Aubrey Newman and Dr Martin Stern, a well-known local Holocaust survivor, will deliver talks inspired by this year’s theme of ‘One Day’.
The talks, as well as a video prepared by Fullhurst Community College, will be available at www.leicester.gov.uk/holocaustday on Thursday.
Lord Mayor of Leicester Cllr Deepak Bajaj said: “Holocaust Memorial Day is a chance not just to remember those who have died in past genocides, but to recognise that the lives of very many people today are still overshadowed by the impact of more recent atrocities across the world. We are reminded of what can happen when prejudice and persecution are left unchallenged.
“By inviting people to view this online content on Thursday, we hope to provide an opportunity to reflect on this poignant annual commemoration.”
At Leicester Museum & Art Gallery, a day of events on Sunday (30 January) will provide a further opportunity for reflection and remembrance.
The day will open with a speech by Professor Aubrey Newman, which will be followed by filmed testimonies of Holocaust survivors and talks by those who lost family members, telling their personal stories. A lament by Israeli oud player, Gal Hever, will accompany a film installation by artist George Sfougaras featuring two illustrated stories: ‘A Winter’s Night in Prague’ and ‘Tale of the Old Fort Town’.
The event will also include an exhibition tracing the history of the Wiener Library from its origins in the holocaust, and a ‘Foundation Stones’ workshop, where visitors will be able to paint their own commemorative stones that will form part of the new national holocaust memorial.
Tickets are required for some of the planned events, but these can be booked at the museum on the day.
The free, drop-in event runs from 12 noon until 4pm. Please note that visitors to the museum are requested to wear face coverings.
More information is available here, or please contact Leicester Museum & Art Gallery on 0116 225 4900.
A further event will take place next week to celebrate the lives of Jewish refugees who escaped Nazi persecution and made the UK their home.
On Tuesday (25 January), an oak tree will be planted in Western Park as part of a national campaign to plant 80 trees to mark the 80th anniversary of the Association of Jewish Refugees – the charity that supports Holocaust survivors and refugees in the UK.
The tree will be planted to celebrate the life of Benjamin Abeles – the renowned physicist who arrived in England as a refugee from Prague on the Kindertransport in 1939 and who died in Leicester in 2020.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “We must never forget the atrocities of the Holocaust.
“This day reminds us that we all have a duty to challenge prejudice and the language of hatred. The message of standing together in the face of intolerance and injustice is as relevant today as it has always been.”
Holocaust Memorial Day is marked in the UK on 27 January – the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.
The day provides an opportunity to remember the six million Jews murdered by the Nazi regime, those who have lost their lives in genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur, and all those seeking sanctuary from persecution.