Once a year we remember those who suffered, and continue to suffer, as a result of the Jewish holocaust.
The day, 27 January, marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest of the Nazi concentration camps and on this day we remember the millions of people killed in the Nazi persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.
At this time we also honour the survivors and challenge ourselves to learn lessons from the past so that we never allow this to happen again. Whilst we live in a country where we are not at risk of genocide, but persecution is a result of hatred, prejudice and discrimination, and there is much to do here, if we are to be a just and caring society.
As a Catholic community we want to live in and promote a society where people are accepted and respected even though they are different from ourselves. We know that God has no favourites, we are all His children, one family and we should find a way of living together in positive relationship with others. This is not always easy so we have to reflect on what is going on around us and respond in love for one another. As people of God, this is what we are called to do.
Holocaust Memorial Day is one such opportunity to stop and think about what is going on and consider the part we need to play. The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust has provided a variety of school resources, from assemblies to moments of reflection.
This year’s theme is ‘Don’t Stand By’.
The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust has produced resources to help groups mark the day/organise an activity. Here you can download materials such as a set of posters, a sample ‘About HMD’ booklet and guidance for putting on your activity.
Here’s a download you can use for assemblies and lesson plans. It also has relevant links and prayers.
The Bishops’ Conference Committee for Catholic Jewish Relations has produced a simple download with a reflection, prayers and links to further information.