Welcome to the Bristol Holocaust Memorial Day website
Here in Bristol, we normally commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day with an annual civic event, held at City Hall on College Green. Our event typically includes a keynote speaker (such as a Holocaust survivor), local speakers and a range of community organisations gathering to remember the victims and survivors of the Holocaust, of Nazi persecution, and of genocides in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur.
However, this was the second year we adapted our plans due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so we hope you’ll understand why we couldn’t encourage people to gather at City Hall in 2022. Instead, we created an online event, shown on YouTube on the evening of 27 January 2022, and available to watch afterwards.
HMD 2022: Online event
This year’s theme for Holocaust Memorial Day, set by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT), was ‘One day’: looking at how a single day can change your life as a victim or survivor of genocide and persecution, and how we can keep telling the stories of genocide victims and survivors.
- Nicola Keller, a member of Bristol Holocaust Memorial Day Steering Group, whose Hungarian Jewish father, András, survived the Holocaust. András (later known as Andrew) settled in Bristol in 1955 and became a notable scientist. We’ll hear the story of Nicola’s father, grandparents and aunt, along with family photos and documents; she recently donated a range of family documents to the world-famous Wiener Library in London, including the photos you’ll see in this short film.
- Elinor Rose Beard, a nine-year-old Bristol schoolgirl and activist in the making. Elinor reflects on what she’s learned about the Holocaust and Nazi persecution, and her personal connection through her grandfather and great grandfather. She is wise beyond her years, proud of her Jewish roots, and always looking to learn more about her heritage. Elinor hopes to become a documentary filmmaker.
- Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, who discusses the importance of marking Holocaust Memorial Day in our city and how we support refugees and asylum seekers.
- A short video by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, on the Nazi persecution of Black people – something that is less well-known by the general public.
Get involved with Holocaust Memorial Day
If you would like to join our Bristol Holocaust Memorial Day Steering Group to help prepare for our 2023 event, please email us. We’re particularly keen for help with videography/filming, web design (theme and HTML coding), and working with school groups and local charity stallholders.
We also encouraged people to join a national online commemoration event organised by HMDT, which followed shortly after our online event:
People joined conversations on social media throughout the day, using the hashtag #HolocaustMemorialDay (capitalising each word in the hashtags, as this helps the screen reader technology used by people with visual impairments).
As part of the live streamed Holocaust Memorial Day Trust event, people across the UK were told to light a candle in their home at 8pm (if safe to do so – do not leave a burning candle unattended), to ‘light the darkness’; this was introduced last year to match the theme of the event, and HMDT brought back candle lighting for 2022.
We light candles in remembrance of victims and survivors of genocides around the world, including the Holocaust, Nazi persecution, and the genocides in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur. It is also to symbolise standing against prejudice and hatred in today’s world.
Why we mark Holocaust Memorial Day in Bristol
Holocaust Memorial Day is a day for education, commemoration and reflection: to think deeply about what happened to countless individuals, and how small actions escalated to acts of organised hate crime and, ultimately, genocide.
We remember all the victims and survivors of the Holocaust, of Nazi persecution, and of subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.
We also reflect on what we need to do today, both to keep the memory alive and to build societies that resist this kind of discrimination and all forms of identity-based violence. Here in Bristol, we look at these issues throughout the year, not just in January.
Holocaust Memorial Day falls on 27th January every year, which is the date when the death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, was liberated in 1945. The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2022 was ‘One day’. Previous themes were ‘Be the light in the darkness’ (2021), ‘Stand Together’ (2020), ‘Torn From Home’ (2019), ‘The Power Of Words’ (2018), ‘How can life go on?’ (2017), and ‘Don’t Stand By’ (2016).
We’d love to have new people join the Steering Group and help us create something bigger and better for 2023. We welcome people of all ages, backgrounds, races, sexualities, gender identities and faiths (and those with no religion). Please email us to hear more about getting involved.
Polly Allen & Ben Royston
Co-Chairs, Bristol HMD Steering Group