Northern Pride marked Holocaust Memorial Day in Newcastle-upon-Tyne with a screening of the 1997 film BENT. Holocaust Memorial Day is a focal point in Northern Pride’s calendar of events, and provides an opportunity for people to reflect upon the history of LGBT culture. Northern Pride used Holocaust Memorial Day 2016 to look back on challenges the LGBT community has had to face in the past, in addition to considering how best to tackle the issues that still lie ahead.
Their free film screening at the Alphabetti Theatre was therefore an opportunity for members of the public to honour the memory of some 15,000 homosexual people who were persecuted by the German National Socialist regime simply for their sexual orientation. The film explores the story of Max, a young, openly gay Berliner who is arrested in the aftermath of the Night of the Long Knives, the Nazi Party’s purge of its upper ranks. Sent to Dachau concentration camp, Max is forced to deny who he is to survive, until meeting fellow prisoner Horst who wears his pink badge with pride.
A film about being true to oneself and coping with unwarranted hatred in the face of unbridled hostility, the piece was chosen as Northern Pride felt it was 'a powerful piece of writing…good for young people to engage with.'
Following the screening, the group also used the opportunity to reflect on their lovers and friends who are still being persecuted in countries around the world. Mark Nichols, Chief Executive of Northern Pride, remarked that the best part of the day was to 'see around 40 people come along to the screen of all ages… [it] was really rewarding… [we received] excellent comments on how informative the film was.'
Northern Pride’s event is an excellent example of how Holocaust Memorial Day can be used by activity organisers to improve their local community. The group’s mission is to promote LGBT culture through public promotion of LGBT heritage and engaging in education and cultural activities that enrich the community. Through events such as their Holocaust Memorial Day film screening, Northern Pride works to raise awareness of the issues LGBT people face, build mutual respect and end discrimination.
- If this example has inspired you to organise an event for HMD 2017, read our theme vision here.