Monday, 2 March, 2015
3,614 activities commemorated HMD 2015 (up from 2,400)
84% of the UK population aware of HMD (up from 77%)
BBC broadcast of HMD 2015 watched by 1.3 million people
After a busy month collecting information from HMD activity organisers in every part of the country, we can now confirm that a massive 3,614 activities took place in the UK for HMD this year. This is an increase of over 1,200 activities from 2014.
Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, said:
‘We’re delighted that so many more people took part in commemorations for this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day. It shows how deeply embedded HMD is in every part of the UK. These grassroots commemorations are enabling people across the country to remember the appalling events of the past and pledge to help create a safer, better future’.
Our annual opinion poll measuring the public’s awareness of HMD* also registered a significant increase. 84% of British adults are now aware of HMD (up from 77% in 2014), and 31% of British adults report that they know HMD well (up from 21% in 2014).
Olivia continued:
‘These huge increases in public awareness are really significant – they demonstrate that the vast majority of British people are now aware of the national commemoration day for the Holocaust. The huge level of media coverage this year ensured millions more people were given the opportunity to pause to consider the life stories of people affected by the Holocaust. The 50% increase in the proportion of people reporting they know HMD well is particularly pleasing.’
Iby and Maja light the candle designed by Sir Anish Kapoor at the Kirklees HMD commemoration
The news of the huge increases in awareness and HMD activities follows the massive expansion in the reach of HMD 2015:
  • The UK Commemorative Event for HMD was broadcast by the BBC, attracting 1.3 million viewers. Participants included Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall; the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition; the Chief Rabbi and the Archbishop of Canterbury; and actors Adrian Lester, John Hurt, Michael Palin, Keeley Hawes, Sarah Lancashire, Christopher Eccleston, and Laurence Fox.
  • Sir Anish Kapoor designed a special commemorative candle for HMD 2015. These candles were lit at 70 HMD activities around the UK, demonstrating the breadth and diversity of the commemorations in every part of the country.
  • Artists participating in the Memory Makers project produced stunning and moving pieces of art in response to meeting survivors, ranging from poetry to film. Videos from the project were watched over 72,000 times, and Stephen Fry’s essay was widely shared.
  • Our beautiful Moving Portraits were exhibited in a gallery, screened on big screens in cities across the UK, projected onto London’s Royal Festival Hall, and used in dozens of local HMD commemorations.
  • HMDT’s work generated 956 media stories in the press and 50 media stories which were broadcast.
  • Visits to the HMDT website rose by 46%.

Watch our film about the highlights of HMD 2015:

Explore how Holocaust Memorial Day unfolded across the UK in our Storify:


* The research for the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust was carried out by Opinion Matters between 11 February and 17 February 2015 with a sample of 2,048 UK adults