The Mayor of Woking, Cllr Saj Hussain, joined thousands across the nation in lighting a candle of remembrance to mark Holocaust Memorial Day today (Friday 27 January). The lit candle is a symbol of solidarity and reflection to remember the countless lives that have been lost or impacted by genocide.
On this day in 1945, Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp, was liberated by Soviet troops. 77 years later we still intensely reflect on the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, alongside the millions of other people killed under Nazi persecution and in the more recent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.
The theme for this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day is ‘Ordinary People’. Genocide is facilitated by ordinary people who turn a blind eye, believe propaganda, or join murderous regimes.
Also, those who are persecuted, oppressed, and murdered in genocide are not persecuted because of crimes they’ve committed, but rather simply because they are ordinary people who belong to a particular group, such as the Roma, Jewish community, or Tutsi. Ordinary people were involved in all aspects of the Holocaust as perpetrators, bystanders, rescuers, witnesses, and ordinary people were victims.
The Mayor of Woking, Cllr Saj Hussain, said: “We support this international day to remember the countless lives impacted by the Holocaust. Together we reflect on those who endured genocide and honour the survivors and all those whose lives were changed beyond recognition.“The Council is committed to promoting fairness and acceptance in our borough and raising awareness about key campaigns to tackle prejudice and promote inclusion.
“This year’s theme should prompt us to consider how ordinary people, such as ourselves, can perhaps play a bigger part than we might envision in challenging prejudice today.”
The Holocaust that threatened the fabric of civilisation and genocide must still be resisted every day. Our world often feels fragile and vulnerable, and we cannot be complacent. Even in the UK, prejudice and the language of hatred must be challenged by us all.
Holocaust Memorial Day is for everyone, and each year across the UK people come together to learn more about the past and take action to create a safer future. To learn more visit the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust website (hmd.org.uk)