Thought For The Day – Thursday 26th January 2023
Holocaust Memorial Day remembers the victims of all genocides;. all aspects of the Holocaust, the Nazi persecution of other groups, the genocides that took place in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur and genocides around the world and in history. Genocide is the abuse, persecution and murder of a race, ethnic group or nation.
In 2023, the theme of Holocaust Memorial Day on the 27th of January is “Ordinary People”. In particular, Holocaust Memorial Day this year raises awareness over how ordinary people can be:
- Perpetrators: Someone who does or encourages an immoral, harmful, hateful, Illegal and evil act.
- Bystanders: Someone who is present at an event but does not get involved in the event.
- Opponents: Someone who resists or is against something or someone. In this context, someone opposing wrong, immorality and evil.
- Rescuers: Someone who saves others from a difficult situation, or someone who helps others in great need.
- Witnesses: Someone who sees an event take place e.g. a crime.
- Victims: People who are abused, bullied, harmed, injured, exploited, manipulated, terrorised or murdered.
Opponents, rescuers, witnesses and victims are, and become, extraordinary people.
The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust writes: “Our theme will prompt us to consider how ordinary people, such as ourselves, can perhaps play a bigger part than we might imagine in challenging prejudice today. We are all ordinary people who can be extraordinary in our actions. We can all make decisions to challenge prejudice, stand up to hatred, to speak out against identity-based persecution…Ordinary people are also the ones who drive Holocaust Memorial Day, who lead on community commemorations, who support and encourage everyone around them to take part in remembrance and education projects.”
“I don’t think there is any hope for anyone who wasn’t there to understand what it was like…I think you should decide to be worthy of being called a human being. You don’t have to come to Auschwitz. You don’t have to be in it. You know once you have been in it you never actually come out of it. And who was not in it will never get in it and it’s not necessary. You don’t have to suffer with us. It’s what you are doing now which is important.” (Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, Auschwitz survivor on “Survivors: Portraits of The Holocaust”, BBC, 2022. This is a wonderful and deeply moving film following a project led by King Charles, who commissioned seven leading artists to paint seven survivors of the Holocaust. In the programme, these beyond inspirational survivors share their testimonies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KE4hmb9TzX4 )