Wed, 20 Jan 2021
2020's Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations in Market Place, Newbury.
Lockdown restrictions have put paid to a Holocaust Memorial Day event in Newbury this year.
The local branch of the UN Association – which arranges the district's annual commemoration – has issued a statement highlighting the event's significance and mission.
The theme of this year's memorial day on Wednesday (January 27) is 'Be the Light in the Darkness'.
It aims to empower all members of the community in confronting prejudice and discrimination, the basis for genocide.
The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust encourages remembrance in a world scarred by genocide. The international day on January 27 remembers 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.
January 27 marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.
Newbury UNA spokeswomen Melanie Pryor said: "Before every genocide, perpetrators divide society into those considered worthy of human treatment and those who are not.
"Distortions are deployed using propaganda and stereotyping to identify and victimise a specific group (or groups), followed by discrimination – often enshrined into law.
"The darkness leading to genocide also causes deep emotional trauma.
"For the international community, there is a responsibility to shine a light on situations where people are persecuted and hold those responsible to account. Holocaust Memorial Day enables us to remember. It gives us a responsibility to work for a safer, better, future for everyone.
"Everyone can step up and use their talents to tackle prejudice, discrimination and intolerance wherever we encounter them.
"This year's theme asks all of us to recognise that the responsibility for genocide education and prevention does not lie only with survivors sharing their testimony. Their experiences hold lessons for all of us and it is vital that we listen to their experiences and become witnesses for them.
"As distortions and denial increase, facing the extent and nature of the crimes committed to reveal the truth of genocide and genocidal regimes is more important than ever. Our lights are more powerful when we work together with others.
"This theme may inspire you to support charities and community groups working to tackle identity-based violence and denial."
The UK Holocaust Memorial Day 2021 ceremony will be streamed online at 7pm. At 8pm, households across the UK will be lighting candles and safely putting them in their windows to remember those who were murdered for who they were and stand against prejudice and hatred today