2021 was different, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so we were unable to organise a physical gathering in Bristol for Holocaust Memorial Day. With lockdowns and social distancing in place, we also couldn’t film footage for a live-streamed or pre-recorded event. This meant we had to adapt.
How we marked HMD 2021
The 2021 theme for Holocaust Memorial Day, set by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) was ‘Be the light in the darkness’ – something that felt particularly important after a very difficult year locally, nationally and globally with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead of organising and streaming an event as a small team, which would put speakers and organisers at risk, we encouraged people to join a national online commemoration event organised by HMDT from 7pm-8pm on Wednesday 27 January 2021.
Social media hashtags on the day were #HolocaustMemorialDay and #LightTheDarkness (we reminded users to capitalise each word in the hashtags, which is important for screen reader technology used by people with visual impairments).
As part of the HMDT event, people across the UK were encouraged 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’; thousands did so, and many shared photos of their lit candles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This is 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 stand against prejudice and hatred in today’s world.
Lighting up the darkness in Bristol
At Bristol HMD we also had support from Bristol City Council which illuminated City Hall with purple lighting after sunset on Wednesday 27 January 2021.
Polly Allen & Ben Royston
Co-Chairs, Bristol HMD Steering Group