Holocaust Memorial Day will challenge prejudice across Greater Manchester this month to celebrate the national theme ‘Communities Together: Build a Bridge’.
The day of remembrance gives all councils the opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to opposing prejudice, discrimination and racism wherever it occurs.
Activities and events across many of the Manchester districts will continue into February with the Manchester Jewish Museum hosting talks from holocaust survivors as well as photo exhibitions.
In the weeks running up to the day, the Holocaust Educational Trust placed a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons, giving MPs the chance to honour those who were persecuted and killed during the Holocaust.
Stretford and Urmston MP Kate Green has signed the book, pledging her commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who died during the Holocaust.
She said: “In the 11th year of its commemoration in the UK, Holocaust Memorial Day is an incredibly important time to reflect on the past and remember the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides.”
To begin the memorial, Cornerhouse will be screening an award-winning documentary, The Last Survivor: Four Tragedies, Four Journeys, One Purpose on January 25 which looks at the atrocities of the Holocaust, Rwanda, Darfur and the Congo.
Guest speaker Kemal Pervanic will also talk about his experiences in the Omarska concentration camp during the Bosnian War and how this has driven him to focus his efforts on peace building.
Councillor Sue Murphy, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council said: “All of the events that are taking place give us the opportunity to learn the lessons from the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and subsequent genocides and to promote the message of peace, respect and tolerance.”
Other Manchester districts will also be holding their own event such as Salford, who will be inviting residents to The Broughton Community Hub on January 28, as Jack Aizenberg, a holocaust survivor, retells his ordeal at Buchenwald concentration camp.
Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart said: “As Salford marks the 68th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, we are taking inspiration from Mr Aizenberg’s story of survival, celebrating difference and building respect between our city’s diverse communities.
With so few witnesses to the greatest tragedy of the 20th century still alive, it is vital that we listen to the lessons of the Holocaust to keep racism out of Salford.”
Stockport will be hosting book displays in local public libraries and will also have a photo exhibition at the Marple library from the January 25 entitled ‘Portraits for prosperity’ showcasing survivors of the holocaust living in Manchester.
Oldham will begin paying their respects on January 31 at Werneth House and will be opened by the Mayor, Councillor Olwen Chadderton, shortly followed by a minute’s silence.
A workshop session will then be held to enable people to talk about conflict and how it impacts on society.
Councillor Chadderton said: “This event is an opportunity for us all to remember those who have been victims of some of the worst atrocities in recent history.
“This year the theme is ‘Communities Together: Build a Bridge’. One of the pledges that we can make is that if we all work together, and are committed, we can tackle and challenge prejudice, racism and bigotry.”
For a detailed timetable of Holocaust memorial events in and around Greater Manchester visit http://hmd.org.uk
Picture courtesy of rhodesj, with thanks