At an event in Nottingham yesterday afternoon (Saturday 12 March), HMDT Chief Executive Olivia Marks-Woldman launched the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2017: How can life go on?
The aftermath of the Holocaust and of subsequent genocides continues to raise challenging questions for individuals, communities and nations. HMD 2017 asks audiences to think about what happens after genocide and of our own responsibilities in the wake of such a crime. This year’s theme is broad and open ended, there are few known answers. Author and survivor of the Holocaust Elie Wiesel has said: 'For the survivor death is not the problem. Death was an everyday occurrence. We learned to live with Death. The problem is to adjust to life, to living. You must teach us about living.'
Olivia Marks-Woldman's speech:
'It’s such a pleasure to be in Nottingham today, and to hold this event following a fabulous day with the HMDT Youth Champions. They have been sharing their amazing contributions to HMD 2016, when we saw the reach of HMD activities extend to over 5,590 local events around the UK. There was huge media interest, city centre screens displaying our slideshow, a wonderful Flames for humanity’s heroes arts project, and a powerful film of Holocaust survivor, Susan Pollack, telling a story of genocide the for the first time – the story of Darfuri survivor, Abdulsalam.
Today’s national Youth Champion event ended with tea with our Honorary President, Ben Helfgott MBE, and fellow Holocaust survivors: Bob Norton and his wife Gerry, Susan Pollack, Martin Stern and Simon Winston. They were joined by Appolinaire Kageruka, survivor of the genocide in Rwanda.
Thank you all for joining us and being prepared to talk so openly and informally with our youth champions.
It’s an honour to be joined today by the Lord Mayor of Nottingham, Councillor Jackie Morris and The Lord Mayor’s Consort, Reverend Andy Morris – thank you for welcoming us to your city. Also by Lilian Greenwood MP – it’s a pleasure to be in your constituency. We’re delighted to welcome Paddy Tipping, Police & Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire, Glen O'Connell from Nottingham City Council, and representatives from Nottingham Liberal Synagogue.
As we consider the extensive reach of Holocaust Memorial Day this year, we start to think how we can build on this interest and momentum. And I am proud to launch our theme for Holocaust Memorial Day next year.
At the heart of all our work are the life stories of people who suffered in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. Some of the questions most often asked of survivors are ‘how are you able to talk about what happened to you?’, ‘how do you feel about the people who perpetrated these unimaginable crimes?’.
And we ask ourselves ‘are we doing enough to bring perpetrators to justice?’
The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2017 is How can life go on?
It will explore these questions that ring out as we learn about the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and each subsequent genocide – what happens after trauma on such an unimaginable scale? And how can we help rebuild, when we see rising anti-semitism and Holocaust and genocide denial?
Over the next few months, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust will develop resources that will enable activity organisers across the country to plan HMD events that will consider these issues. We will encourage activities that look at issues of where people go after a genocide, and how we can help refugees in Britain who have escaped genocide. We will learn about the different systems of justice after the Holocaust and after subsequent genocides. We will learn about the past, and take steps to create a better future.
Eli Wiesel said:
On Holocaust Memorial Day next year, join the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust to consider how life can go on, and how we can teach about living.