Stand Together is the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2020.
Don’t be content in your life just to do no wrong, be prepared every day to try and do some good.
Sir Nicholas Winton, who rescued 669 children from Nazi-occupied Europe
The theme for HMD 2020 is Stand Together. It explores how genocidal regimes throughout history have deliberately fractured societies by marginalising certain groups, and how these tactics can be challenged by individuals standing together with their neighbours, and speaking out against oppression.
In the years leading up to the Holocaust, Nazi policies and propaganda deliberately encouraged divisions within German society – urging ‘Aryan’ Germans to keep themselves separate from their Jewish neighbours. The Holocaust, Nazi Persecution of other groups and each subsequent genocide, was enabled by ordinary citizens not standing with their targeted neighbours.
Today there is increasing division in communities across the UK and the world. Now more than ever, we need to stand together with others in our communities in order to stop division and the spread of identity-based hostility in our society.
HMD 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz – this is a significant milestone and is made particularly poignant by the dwindling number of survivors who are able to share their testimony. It also marks the 25th anniversary of the Genocide in Bosnia.
Scope of the theme:
- Steps leading to genocide
a. Us versus Them
b. Propaganda to divide
Policies were developed in the lead up to the Holocaust and subsequent genocides that deliberately separated people, causing certain groups to be treated as ‘the other’. Propaganda using stereotypes and existing prejudices dehumanised the persecuted groups.
- ‘Standing together’ during genocide
a. Assisting persecuted people
b. Standing together in resistance
c. Speaking out against persecution and challenging a hostile culture
Despite the introduction of oppressive policies examples can be found of inspiring individuals who showed solidarity with, assisted or rescued those who were being persecuted in their communities and countries.
- ‘Standing together’ today
a. Standing together against rising division and hate
b. Standing together with the memory of people who were murdered
c. Standing together to support those in need
Holocaust Memorial Day is an opportunity each year for people around the UK to stand together with those in their local community, across boundaries of faith, age and ethnicity. We all learn about those affected by genocide around the world and take action for the future.