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Home Office responds

Last updated: 2004-11-23

Holocaust Memorial Day

Holocaust Memorial Day

SomethingJewish editor Leslie Bunder recently wrote about why Holocaust Memorial Day should be ditched and be replaced by a more inclusive event to recognise all people who have suffered intolerance. You can read what he says here.

The Home Office responds with the following about why it thinks Holocaust Memorial Day should stay as it is.

The following comes from a Home Office spokesperson:

Holocaust Memorial Day and why it matters...

The Holocaust was a defining moment of the 20th Century and is a part of the UK's history.

HMD was set up following a major Government consultation programme which included over 1000 organisations and individuals; it was never an imposition, but a positive response to an overwhelming desire never to forget such a catastrophe.  We observe the Day, 27th January , in conjunction with many other European countries, which also choose to remember and reflect on this stain on humanity, on the day that Auschwitz -a visible emblem of Nazi atrocity - was liberated.

HMD is an empowering  tool and a spur to actions, however small, to make a difference and contribute to the society in which we all live. HMD holds messages for everyone and is a journey to an ideal. The values of democracy mean that minorities, whatever their composition or hue, have an equal place alongside the rest of society and should be treated with dignity, respect, understanding and tolerance. It reaches beyond the Jewish community, and the commemoration of HMD at local and national level, by different faiths and diverse communities, exemplifies its universal messages.

Racism, xenophobia, discrimination and bigotry against the few by the many, continue to plague all societies and successive HMD's have focussed on Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo to show that despite reminders and  vigilance, there is still a long way to go in eradicating genocide.

The new HMD Trust has an important task to continue to open people's minds, pay respect to all the victims of National Socialism and add impetus to the prevention of genocide. It is there to challenge and to question and to act as a reference point for society and the need for it has never been greater.

The new trustees, who are not all Jewish, were recruited through a variety of means, specifically targeting the posts at a general as well as a specialist audience. Those who have been appointed have extensive experience in involving others in this important work.