Holocaust Memorial Day 2023 – Ordinary People

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.

Bristol Holocaust Memorial Day 2023: Virtual Event

This year we’ve made another online event for Bristol to mark Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD). The pre-recorded event will be available to watch from 12pm on Friday 27 January, which is the date of HMD, on our Bristol HMD YouTube channel. You can then play the video any time you like, so please don’t worry if you aren’t able to watch on the day itself.

Our main speaker this year is John Hajdu MBE, a Holocaust survivor who was born in Hungary and settled in the UK in 1957. We visited John at his home in North London, and it was an honour to hear his story.

We also hear from:

  • Elinor Rose Beard, a 10-year-old local schoolgirl.
  • Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol; the Lord Mayor of Bristol.
  • Several Bristol MPs.
  • Other local figures, such as the President of Bristol JSoc (Jewish Society).

This year’s theme, from the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, is ‘Ordinary People’.

Holocaust Memorial Day not only remembers victims and survivors of the Holocaust, but also of Nazi persecution and the genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. If you’re looking for reading recommendations to help you learn more about genocide awareness, please see the video for some great book ideas to get you started.

Watch the 2023 HMD event here.

Help us plan our 2024 Holocaust Memorial Day event in Bristol

Though we’d hoped to bring you a face-to-face event this year, our group is just too small to make it possible at the moment. We are all volunteers, meeting roughly once a month from September to January to plan our HMD commemoration. Though we follow guidance from the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, we are not funded by them, so we also need to fundraise to cover our costs.

Joining the group can give you hands-on experience of:

  • Event planning.
  • Fundraising.
  • Publicity.
  • Social media management.
  • Web development.
  • Project management.
  • Working with local charities and community groups (we have stalls from local charities at the event), or with secondary schools and colleges.

You don’t need a personal connection to the Holocaust or to genocide victims to join the group. We welcome people of all ages, sexes, sexual orientations, gender identities, races, and religions (also those with no religion). We’re a friendly group, and we can’t wait to welcome new members.

To find out more, please email chair@bristolhmd.org.

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

Email: Chair@BristolHMD.org

Twitter@BristolHMD   #BristolHMD #HolocaustMemorialDay #LightTheDarkness

Facebook: BristolHMD