People from across the UK joined us online yesterday for the launch of the new theme for Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) 2024.
The theme for HMD 2024 is Fragility of Freedom.
Freedom means different things to different people. What is clear is that in every genocide that has taken place, those who are targeted for persecution have had their freedom restricted and removed, before they themselves are murdered. This is often a subtle, slow process.
Our Head of Outreach, Joe Miller, described the new theme:
The theme of Fragility of Freedom provides us all with an opportunity to stop and consider what we value in our own lives and in the wider world. In our own country freedom is all too often used naively as something we have now and something we will always have. However, as our remarkable speakers will shortly explain and as the ten stages of genocide so well describe, freedom is not guaranteed in perpetuity, it is something that needs protecting, that needs cherishing and that we all need to remember is fragile.
We were joined by Dr Martin Stern MBE, a survivor of the Holocaust, Sokphal Din BEM, a survivor of the genocide in Cambodia, Antoinette Mutabazi, a survivor of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, Smajo Bešo OBE, a survivor of the genocide in Bosnia and El Sadiq ‘Debay’ Mahmoud Manees, a survivor of the genocide in Darfur. Each spoke about two stages of genocide, as outlined in Gregory Stanton’s ten stages of genocide.
Sokphal Din BEM, a survivor of the genocide in Cambodia, said the following when reflecting on the stage of ‘extermination’:
It happened so quick – in 24 hours I was forced out of my house at gunpoint. I was 17 and had never seen anything like that… We had so much freedom and then in 24 hours our lives changed.
People discussed the theme on Twitter following the announcement:
Not only an important theme to delve into as we reflect on the past, but an especially fitting theme in our present.
— Jaya Pathak (@jayapathak_) April 25, 2023
You can join conversation about the theme online using the hashtag #FragilityOfFreedom.
There are many different ways the new theme can be explored and applied in your Holocaust Memorial Day activities and commemorations. We encourage you to download the Theme vision to explore the theme in depth.
If you missed the theme launch, you can watch it here: