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 many of them are murdered.
Not only do perpetrator regimes erode the freedom of the people they are targeting, demonstrating how fragile freedom is, they also restrict the freedoms of others around them, to prevent people from challenging the regime. Despite this, in every genocide there are those who risk their own freedom to help others, to preserve others’ freedom or to stand up to the regime.
Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) takes place every year on 27 January, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. It is an international day to remember Jews murdered during the Holocaust, alongside the millions of other people killed under Nazi persecution of other groups. The day also serves to remember those killed in the more recent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. It is an occasion for everyone to come together to learn, remember and reflect.
On HMD 2024, we can all reflect on how freedom is fragile and vulnerable to abuse. As we come together in communities around the UK, let’s pledge not to take our freedoms for granted, and consider what we can do to strengthen and advocate for freedoms for all people around the world.
To learn more about HMD and this year’s theme, or to access free resources, visit hmd.org.uk