Holocaust Memorial Day 2021

Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) takes place each year on 27 January - the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) 2021 is 'Be the light in the darkness'.

27 January 2021

It encourages everyone 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. It’s an affirmation and a call to action for everyone marking Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD).

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 utterly unprecedented times through which we are living currently 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.

Take Part

The official website for Holocaust Memorial Day offers different and meaningful ways you can get involved and play your part to mark HMD. From schools and libraries to workplaces and prisons, HMD activities take place in thousands of diverse settings.

Visit the site and get involved.


Our photographer has visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp on many occasions – some in the presence of Popes.

You can view the full photo album on our Flickr photostream.

Pope says remembering is an expression of humanity

At his General Audience, Pope Francis marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day, observed on the anniversary of the liberation of Nazi concentration and extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau.