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Holocaust Memorial Day

Holocaust Memorial Day is commemorated each year on or around 27 January. This is the date on which the former Nazi concentration and extermination camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated in 1945.
The commemoration offers modern society the opportunity to remember those who suffered and died during the Holocaust in World War II, including those still living with the consequences. It also reflects on the lessons to be learned bearing in mind the repetition of human tragedies and the continuation of different forms of intolerance and genocides which have occurred in different parts of the world.

Origin

In May 1998, the Swedish, British and US Governments established the “task force for International Co-operation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research” They were subsequently joined by Germany, Israel, Poland, the Netherlands, France and Italy.
At the Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets in December of the same year. Task Force members issued a joint declaration stating, inter alia, that “Holocaust education, remembrance and research strengthen humanity’s ability to absorb and learn from the dark lessons of the past, so that we can ensure that similar horrors are never again repeated.” Other nations were similarly called to strengthen their efforts in these fields, and to undertake new ones where necessary.
In the Autumn of 1999 the Home Office at the behest of the Prime Minister issued a consultation document to targeted individuals and interest groups, a clear majority of whom expressed support for an inclusive and forward looking Holocaust Memorial Day. It was therefore decided that Holocaust Memorial Day would be commemorated on 27 January, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The first national ceremony took place in 2001 in London.

Local Participation

Holocaust Memorial Day is organised in Northern Ireland each year by OFMDFM in co-operation with representatives of the Belfast Jewish Community, Council of Christians and Jews, Disability Action, Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities and Coalition on Sexual Orientation and of the local council for the area where the ceremony is held.
Belfast’s first participation in marking Holocaust Memorial Day occurred in 2002 when a Northern Ireland Regional Commemoration was held in the Waterfront Hall. Subsequent regional commemorations have been held each year in various locations in Northern Ireland.

Further Information

Further information is available from the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT), a charity which promotes and supports Holocaust Memorial Day; or the Holocaust Education Trust Ireland which aims to teach about the Holocaust and its consequences.

Contact us

If you have any queries regarding Holocaust Memorial Day you can contact us at the following address:
Holocaust Memorial Day
Room E3.18 Castle Buildings
Stormont Estate
Belfast BT4 3SR