Every year in January, the world marks Holocaust Memorial Day which has taken place in the UK since 2001.
On this day we share the memory of the millions who have been murdered in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur in order to challenge hatred and persecution in the world today.
To commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day we will hold an online vigil on Wednesday 27 January 2021, from 5:45pm to 7pm via Zoom. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic we have had to move away from the usual public gathering in the Winter Garden.
2021 Theme: Be the Light in the Darkness
This year's theme is Be the Light in the Darkness. The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust wants us to reflect on the depths humanity can sink to, but also the ways individuals and communities resisted that darkness to ‘be the light’ before, during and after genocide.
Be the light in the darkness is an affirmation and a call to action for everyone marking Holocaust Memorial Day. This theme asks us to consider different kinds of ‘darkness’, for example, identity-based persecution, misinformation, denial of justice; and different ways of ‘being the light’, for example, resistance, acts of solidarity, rescue and illuminating mistruths.
Increasing levels of denial, division and misinformation in today’s world mean we must remain vigilant against hatred and identity-based hostility. Rapid technological developments, a turbulent political climate, and world events beyond our control can leave us feeling helpless and insignificant.
The unprecedented times through which we are living are showing the very best of which humanity is capable but also - in some of the abuse and conspiracy theories being spread on social media - the much darker side of our world as well. We can all stand in solidarity. We can choose to be the light in the darkness in a variety of ways and places – at home, in public, and online.
Tribute to Sue Pearson MBE
We would like to pay tribute to Sue Pearson who sadly passed away in December 2020 at the age of 92, and was a long-time supporter and contributor to our Holocaust Memorial Day Vigil activities. Sue came to Sheffield from Prague on the Kindertransport in 1939 at the age of 11. Her childhood experiences instilled a lifelong commitment to improving the lives of all children.
In March 1939, Hitler occupied the remainder of what was then Czechoslovakia, and Jews in Prague were aware of the danger they were in. Sue’s Jewish parents took the brave decision to send her on a Kindertransport in June 1939, believing it would be a temporary measure, but, like most children who made the journey, she never saw them again.
When Sue arrived in Sheffield she was fostered by a family and attended Woodseats school, leaving at 14 to work in a drawing office. She dedicated her life to education and was appointed MBE for services to education in 1985 and awarded an honorary doctorate by Sheffield Hallam University in 2000.
Through her work and dedication to raising awareness of the holocaust, Sue made a huge impact and touched the hearts of those who came into contact with her. She will be sadly missed, but her legacy will live on. Please see Sue’s short film, ‘My Escape from the Holocaust’, which was filmed for the 2018 Holocaust Memorial Day Vigil, The Power of Words.
The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust website has a range of resources, information and advice you need to participate in Holocaust Memorial Day. They also offer a selection of educational resources.