Sun 26 January 2020
Holocaust Memorial Day is the international day of remembrance of six million Jewish men, women and children murdered in the Holocaust, and millions of other people killed under German Nazi persecution, and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.
2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest German Nazi concentration and death camp. It also marks the 25th anniversary of the Genocide in Bosnia.
The Lord Mayor will open this year’s civic remembrance event, which will include a keynote speech by Dr James Smith, co-founder of the UK National Holocaust Centre and Chief Executive Officer of the Aegis Trust.
Opera North Youth Chorus will perform a piece on the theme of ‘Stand Together’. Over the last few months, young people explored 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. They have worked with composer Michael Betteridge and writer Anna Pool to create a new work entitled Standing Together, which also includes songs by Jewish composers.
There will be a reading of the seven statements of commitments with candle lighting, by representatives of different groups persecuted including Holocaust survivors, people with additional needs, the LGBT+ community, and Remembering Srebrenica. The event will close with a traditional Hebrew memorial prayer sung by the President of Bradford Synagogue, Rudi Leavor, BEM.
Leeds Town Hall is also hosting a photographic exhibition from 13 January to 29 February called ‘We Were There’, about children and young people who survived Nazi persecution across Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. These children came to Leeds as refugees or survivors of the Holocaust, settled and made new lives here. Visitors will see poignant personal photos of the survivors and their families presented alongside survivors’ stories of discrimination, persecution, escape, hiding, ghettos, forced labour, concentration camps and liberation. Images and content featured in this exhibition are courtesy of the Holocaust Survivors' Friendship Association. The exhibition will be open to view during the Holocaust Memorial Day Civic Remembrance event.
There will be British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters at the event. Image credit: Bill Hunt.
Free and open to all, no booking required.