Holocaust Memorial Day marks the anniversary of liberation in 1945 of the concentration camp at Auschwitz and is held on 27 January every year to remember the six million Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust.
The theme of Holocaust Memorial Day 2021 is ‘Be the light in the darkness’ to encourage all of us to reflect on the depths humanity can sink to, but also how individuals and communities sought to ‘be the light’ before, during and after genocide.
In her talk, Gillian Mawdsley, Policy Executive at the Society, reflects on the often ignored role that civil servants, lawyers and legislation had to play in facilitating the policies leading to the murder of millions of European Jews and other civilians.
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“It is essential that we do not forget the horror of the Holocaust and that we remain watchful of the steps that even inadvertently, can pave the way to darkness. The Holocaust was not something which occurred in isolation. There were processes and structures which were followed in implementing policy decisions which are possibly even more frightening by their normality and acceptance by citizens at the time.
“We are currently living in unprecedented times and while it has been enormously encouraging to see some of the very best of what humanity can achieve during these turbulent and difficult days, we must continue to strive to ensure the Holocaust can never be repeated. We can all aim to ‘be the light’ in our own communities and workplaces and Holocaust Memorial Day is a day to take time to reflect on our own personal and professional responsibility within wider society.”