Derby’s Holocaust Memorial Day Working Group, as part of their ongoing commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day in their town, collaborated with the Derby Bosnia-Herzegovina Community Association to run a full week of free activities for HMD 2016.
The week began with a morning screening on 25 January of Into the Arms of Strangers, the award-winning documentary about the Kindertransport rescue operation, which saved nearly 10,000 Jewish children from the Nazi regime. This screening was followed by a Q&A session with Stephen Mendelsson, a Kindertransportee who settled in Sheffield after the war.
In the evening two further film screenings were held of the documentary My Nazi Legacy. The film follows international human rights lawyer Philippe Sands as he interviews the sons of two high-ranking Nazi officials. Sands sits down with Niklas Frank, whose father Hans Frank was Governor-General of the General Government in Poland, and Horst von Wachter, whose father Otto von Wachter served under Frank as Governor of Krakow, and later Governor of the District of Galicia. The film explores the ways in which the two men have dealt with the legacy of their fathers, and is a fascinating exploration of moral responsibility. Exhibited at QUAD in Derby, both films were also screened on Tuesday 26 January and My Nazi Legacy was also shown on the evening of the following day.
The focal point of the week was Holocaust Memorial Day itself, with a full day of events held. A service of reflection and commemoration was held at the Bridge Chapel, which featured musical performances and a stone-setting at trees dedicated to Anne Frank and Olga Nahlak, a Righteous Gentile from Ukraine who settled in Derby. The ceremony was attended by the Mayor of Derby and guests from the Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This was followed by a reception at the Bosnia-Herzegovina Centre.
On the evening of 27 January Derby Cathedral played host to 'A Service of Commemoration, Remembrance and Hope'. The ceremony included readings from the Bible and Koran, in addition to the Jewish Kaddish. There was also a roll-call of genocides, as well as musical pieces by one of the cathedral choirs and a local Derby school.
The final event on Holocaust Memorial Day itself was an evening of commemoration and celebration, showcasing performances by communities that have found sanctuary and safety from persecution in Derby. A diverse programme included musical performances, presentations and dance recitals.
A piano recital from Bosnian-born pianist Damir Durmanovic rounded off the week’s commemorations on Friday evening, showcasing compositions by Tchaikovsky, Schubert, Prokofiev and Debussy.
  • If this example has inspired you to organise an activity for HMD 2017, read our theme vision here.