Sunday 22 January 2012

Holocaust Memorial Day: remember and say ‘Never again’

Friday 27 January 2012 is Holocaust Memorial Day – the anniversary of the day that the Nazis’ concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated in 1945.

UAF supporters will be joining events around the country to remember the Holocaust – see below for listings.


We believe it is important to remember the reality of what it means when fascists take power – so we can redouble our efforts to drive back the fascists today.

When Hitler’s Nazis came to power in Germany, they smashed working class organisations, political opposition and civil institutions – right down to the Boy Scouts – paving the way for the Holocaust.

In the Holocaust, the Nazis murdered six million Jews, along with millions of others who the fascists considered to be “undesirable” or “inferior”, including Roma people, socialists and communists, trade union members, gay men and lesbians, disabled people, black people, and non-Jewish Polish and Russian people.

The mass murder of the Holocaust was carried out on an industrial scale and has been called killing “by assembly line”, with death camps linked by the European rail network.

Today’s targets…

Today, in Britain and across Europe, fascist parties are again attempting to grow. They range from the serious electoral threat of the Front National in France to Hungary’s Jobbik, with its huge paramilitary wing. New groups such as the racist and fascist street thugs of the English Defence League have emerged.

While in the 1930s and 1940s the Nazis’ main targets were Jews, in recent years the fascists’ main targets have been Muslims and, especially in Eastern Europe, Roma people.

Never again!

First they came for the communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a communist
Then they came for the socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me.

Pastor Martin Niemoller, survivor of Nazi concentration camps at Sachsenhausen and Dachau

Holocaust deniers, such as BNP leader Nick Griffin, want to pretend the Holocaust didn’t happen and to disguise the reality of fascism. They try to pose as respectable politicians and slip into the mainstream of political life. The millions murdered by Hitler mean nothing to the likes of Griffin.

That is why events like Holocaust Memorial Day are important. We remember the Holocaust in order to learn the lessons of history and redouble our campaigning against racism and fascism today.

We cannot let Muslims, Roma or anyone else be scapegoated, isolated and murdered the way Jewish people were under the Nazis.

When we remember the Holocaust, we say: ‘Never again!’

Find out more

There are many sources of information about the Holocaust, but for a quick, concise guide with facts, figures and dates, you can view or download this very useful wallchart produced by the University and College Union (pdf file). It includes a section on resistance to fascism in more recent times.

Holocaust Memorial Day events

Here is a brief selection of events taking place on or around Holocaust Memorial Day this year. You can find a full listing on the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust website. Most events are free but booking is sometimes required.


North London Thursday 26 January 2012, 7:30pm
Eve of Holocaust Memorial Day Meeting – Questions and Answers, with Auschwitz survivor Anita Wallfisch, Rabbi Bernd Koschland – Kindertransport and child survivor, Ulrike Schmidt from Amnesty International speaking about the threat to Roma people in Hungary, UAF joint secretary Weyman Bennett and others. Organised by UAF. Muswell Hill Library (off the Broadway), 1 Queens Avenue, London N10. Free. >> Download leaflet

East London Sunday 29 January, 3pm-6pm
With speakers Jean Lambert MEP, Weyman Bennett (UAF), Sandor Szoke (Hungarian Civil Movement), Ladislav Balaz (Roma representative and advocate, Czech Republic), Amnesty International, plus music by Pjotre Jordan & Dunajska Kapelye. Organised by Amnesty Insternational and UAF. 10 Harmony Hall, Truro Road Walthamstow, London E17 7BY. £4/£2.>> Download leaflet

>> more on these events and others in London

North East

Newcastle Sunday 29 January, 3pm
Newcastle Holocaust Memorial Commemorative Event “Speak Up, Speak Out”, with speakers Ed Vulliamy, Nerma Jelacic and Ruth Barnett, plus performance by Ouseburn Young Voices and personal testimonials from students who took part in the ‘Lessons from Auschwitz’ project. Newcastle Civic Centre. Free, but please register.

Newcastle 27 January to 2 February
Anne Frank exhibition at Gosforth library, Regent Farm Road, Gosforth, NE3 3HD.

>> more details of these and other North East events

North West

Barrow in Furness Thursday 27 January, 7pm
Remember the Holocaust – Speak Up, Speak Out. An evening of commemoration for the victims of the Nazi Holocaust, with survivor testimony and a presentation entitled ‘Sophie Scholl Fighter Against Nazism’ by Professor Frank McDonough. Speakers include John Woodcock MP. Organised by UAF. Trinity Church Centre, Warwick Street, off Abbey Road, Barrow.

Manchester Monday 30 January, 5.15pm
Speak Up, Speak Out: Survivor Story. We are honoured to welcome back Holocaust survivor Arek Hersh MBE, with special screening of a film about his life, followed by a question and answer session. Imperial War Museum North, The Quays, Trafford Wharf Road, Manchester,M17 1TZ. Free, but booking required.

>> more details of these and other North West events

Yorkshire and Humber

Kirklees Tuesday 24 January, 7.15pm
Speak Up, Speak Out: Conversations in Kirklees. With Mayor of Kirklees, Cllr Eric Firth, plus Thornhill Junior School Choir and Hungarian Roma children sharing song, Ice & Fire Theatre Co presenting testimony, Holocaust survivors and Muslim students sharing stories. Huddersfield Town Hall, Ramsden Street, Huddersfield HD1 2TA. Free.

Barnsley Sunday 29 January, 6pm
Barnsley Holocaust Memorial Day Service. Speakers include Holocaust survivor Iby Knill, Dan Jarvis MP, Karen Dyson, Mayor of Barnsley, plus students from Barnsley College, Wombwell Mixed Voice Choir and a speacial guest speaker Milo Milinkovic. Barnsley Baptist Church, Sheffield Road, Barnsley S70 1JJ. Free.

>> more on these events and others in Yorkshire and Humberside

East Midands

Northampton Monday 30 January, 6.30pm
Holocaust Memorial Day Event. Performances and short presentations by children, young people and adults; candle-lighting and traditional prayers. With Lumbertubs Primary School and Northampton Youth Forum. The Great Hall, The Guildhall, St Giles Square, Northampton NN1 1DE. Free.

Derby Thursday 26 January 2012, 11.20am
Talk by Holocaust survivor Simon Winston who, as a young child with his parents and younger brother, lived on the run from the Nazis for two years. Followed by a Q&A session. Multi-Faith Centre, University of Derby, Kedleston Road, Derby.

>> more on this event and others in the East Midlands

West Midlands

Shrewsbury Friday 27 January, 5.15pm procession, 6pm event.
Speak Up, Speak Out. Candlelight procession from Shrewsbury College of Ats and Technology, London Road to the Shirehall. The event at the Shirehall includes drama an mime by students, a Klezmer band and a Malenka singing group. Free but please book for the event as space in the council chambers is limited. Contact contact Kal Parkash on 01743 252056 or email.

Redditch Sunday 29 January
Redditch Speaks Up, Speaks Out. Annual Holocaust Memorial event.
11.30 am – Procession from Holocaust Memorial Marker, Church Green.
12 noon – commemorative event with readings and music in Worcester Square, Kingfisher Shopping Centre, Redditch. 1pm – Holocaust survivor Simon Winston tells his story – Ecumenical Centre, Evesham Walk, Redditch.

>> more on these events and others in the West Midlands

South East

Romford, Essex Thursday 26 January, 6pm
Living Memories. With Holocaust survivor George Vulkan. Gidea Park Library, Balgores Lane, Gidea Park, Romford
RM2 6BS. Free but donations requested for the London Jewish Cultural Centre.

Southampton Thursday 26 January, 6pm
Speak Up, Speak Out – Southampton Holocaust and genocide memorial event with slides and music from the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and speakers, plus students from Itchen College reflect on Holocaust testimony and students from Southampton Solent University perform a short work based on the testimony of Holocaust survivor Alice Sommer. Sir James Matthews Building, Southampton Solent University, Above Bar, Southampton. Free.

>> more on these events and others in the South East

South West

Bath Thursday 26 January, 6pm
Bath and North East Somerset Council’s Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration, with survivor of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp Professor Ladislaus Lob. Please respond to Cllr Sarah Bevan by email. Guildhall, High Street, Bath
BA1 5AW. Free.

Taunton Friday 27 January, 12.30pm
Speak up, Speak out Holocaust Memorial Day event – including readings, music, candle-lighting and the laying of a wreath. Event supported by Somerset County Council, Taunton Deane Borough Council, Somerset College of Arts and Technology, trade union UNISON and the Church of St John the Evangelist. People of all faiths and none are welcome. The Church of St John the Evangelist, Park Street, Taunton, Somerset TA1 4DG. Free.

>>more on this event and others in the South West

East of England

Cambridge Friday 27 January, 6.30pm
With speakers Martin Bell, the former BBC war correspondent and now UNICEF ambassador and Zuza Vrbova, the daughter of Auschwitz escapee Rudolph Vrba who prouced a detailed eyewitness account of what he had seen in an attempt to warn the world. Zuza will be assisted by a group of sixth form students who have helped create an exhibition about his escape. The Guidhall, Guildhall Street, Cambridge. Free.

>> more on this event and others in the East of England


Swansea Open now, runs until 5 February 2012
Jewish Refugees in South Wales, 1933-1945. West Glamorgan Archive Service has prepared an exhibition on the history of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany who came to South Wales, and their thought-provoking, poignant but inspirational histories. In the foyer of the Civic Centre, Oystermouth Road, Swansea SA1 3SN. Free.

>> more on this event and others in Wales


Glasgow Monday 30 January, 7pm
Speak Up, Speak Out. Short film, drama production and talk by sixth year students who have visited Auschwitz. Eastwood Park Theatre, Eastwood Park, Rouken Glen Road, Giffnock G46 6UG. Free.

>> more on this event and others in Scotland

Pics: Nazis round up Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, and the remains of the railway line into Auschwitz (modern photo)

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