Don’t stand by: Holocaust Memorial Day 2016

It has been Holocaust Memorial day again and we should all be aware.

Holocaust Memorial Day (also International Holocaust Remembrance Day) was enacted by United Nations on 1st November 2015. The day is celebrated on 27th January to mark the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. It aims to commemorate those who lost their lives during II World War, and to raise awareness in racism and discrimination issues.

We all should be aware!

Sadly, some people still don’t realise how huge the Holocaust was. Literally meaning “whole burning”, the Holocaust took over 11 million lives (including 6 million Jews killed by Nazis). In Auschwitz-Birkenau, alone, after being kept in horrific and inhumane conditions, more than one million people were killed.

Coming from Poland, I have really strong feelings about what happened during World War II. From a young age, we were taught about the horrific events. We learnt at school how just how huge the Holocaust was, however numbers and pictures don’t always make you fully aware. I only realized the real size of those events when my parents took me to visit Auschwitz concentration camp in Oswiecim, Poland at the age of 12. That was one of the most afflicting moments I’ve ever experienced.

Yes, walking through the place where around million people were killed and countless tortured through harsh experiments and slave labour, remembering the horrific events there may not be fun. But it happened, not that long ago – and we all should know that, understand that and commemorate the victims in a proper respect.

Don’t stand by!

The theme of this years’ Holocaust Memorial Day is “Don’t Stand By!”, because it is crucial to make everyone aware of the effects of World War II and not have a passive attitude towards the horrific events of WWII that should never be forgotten – despite the genocides also remembered by Holocaust Memorial Day in Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur as well as other places.

If you are interested in raising awareness about Holocaust Memorial Day visit Holocaust Memorial Day Trust website, join one of campaigns and help others understand why Holocaust Memorial Day is relevant to them.

You can also order an activity pack, which contains “advice and guidance for holding a Holocaust Memorial Day activity and is your first step for marking HMD 2016, it includes a set of posters, a guide to taking action to mark HMD, a sample About HMD booklet, a set of stickers, and a HMD badge.”

So don’t stand by! Get involved!

Natalia Kaluza

One Response

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