Rotherham Council is inviting residents to stand together for Holocaust Memorial Day on Monday 27 January in remembrance of the millions of people murdered during the Holocaust and other genocides.
From 12.30pm to 1pm speeches, readings and songs will be delivered by dignitaries, special guests, and school choirs in All Saint’s Square in Rotherham Town Centre. Everyone is welcome to attend the free event.
This year, the Holocaust Memorial Day will focus on the theme of ‘Stand Together’ and explore how communities can unite to speak out against persecution and challenge hostile behaviour to minority groups.
The event will also mark the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau as well as the 25th Anniversary of the genocide in Bosnia.
During the civil war in the Balkan states, the Bosnian town of Srebrenica was declared a safe area by the UN Security Council in 1993. Despite this, the violence and killing continued, eventually leading to the largest incidence of mass-murder in Europe since World War Two.
Regional Board Member for the national charity Remembering Srebrenica, Richard Bartlett, will be speaking at the event about the 1995 genocide in Bosnia and how people can take positive action to build stronger communities.
Council Leader Cllr Chris Read, who will also speak at the event, said: “Throughout history, regimes have used divisive and hostile language to splinter societies and turn the public against their neighbours. On Holocaust Memorial Day, we are inviting communities to come together and learn from the past so that we can stop genocides happening in the future.
“This year marks two anniversaries: the first is the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau where we will remember those murdered in the darkest corner of human history and the systematic extermination of six million Jewish people during the Holocaust. The second is the 25th Anniversary of the genocide in Bosnia, where over 8,000 Muslim men and boys were murdered in the town of Srebrenica and over 2 million people were displaced from their homes.”
Holocaust Memorial Day has taken place in the UK since 2001, with a UK Commemorative Ceremony and more than 10,000 local activities taking place all across the UK on or around 27 January each year.
Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) is the charity established and funded by the UK Government to promote and support HMD in the UK.
HMDT’s Chief Executive, Olivia Marks-Woldman, said: “This event in Rotherham is an important part of the national picture for Holocaust Memorial Day 2020. There are thousands of events taking place for this significant occasion, marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
“Today our world often feels fragile and vulnerable, with widespread prejudice and the language of hatred needing to be challenged in the UK. Now more than ever, we need to stand together with others in our communities to stop division and the spread of identity-based hostility in our society.”
This will be the fifth Holocaust Memorial Day event held in Rotherham to mark the atrocities. Local singer and songwriter, Nic Harding, will perform a song she has written for this year’s theme.
Also attending the event include the Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire, Mr Andrew Coombe; the High Sheriff of South Yorkshire Mr John Pickering; Rabbi Yonason Golomb from the Sheffield Synagogue; The Reverend Philip Batchford from the Minster Church of All Saints; and Imam Zaid Hussain from the Rotherham Council of Mosques along with Major Adrian Hunt DL of the Rotherham Military Community Veterans Centre and council dignitaries.