Holocaust Commemoration Talks

We would like to invite you to participate in marking Holocaust Memorial Day 2021.  All activities and events in Cambridge will be online and there are a variety of ways in which you can join in. Please find details HERE about ways to participate by joining our Virtual Choir 2021, or submitting a candle photo in your hand to help us produce an online community gathering, or draw a picture of HOPE to illustrate Michael Rosen's new poem! 

Join us to mark Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) on Wednesday 27th January 2021 

Michael Rosen is our ‘Poet in Residence’ at HistoryWorks and therefore at 4pm Cambridge City Council will switch on lights for the Guildhall to be lit in purple as this is the official colour chosen to mark Holocaust Memorial Day on Wednesday 27th January, when Michael Rosen will release his online film on this year’s theme ‘Be The Light in the Darkness’. 

So if you are able to, put a picture of a candle in your front window with the word ‘Hope’ or your ‘Messages of Hope’ and light a candle to mark HMD on the evening of Wednesday 27th.  You'll be able to view Michael Rosen's launch of the Holocaust Memorial Day film here:

'Light in the Darkness' 

Commissioned for HMD by Helen Weinstein of HistoryWorks on behalf of Cambridge City Council; Words composed by the poet, Michael Rosen; Recorded and Edited by Jon Calver; Dancers from Elevation Youth Dance Company, Directed by Helen Garner; Technical Direction at the Robinson Theatre, Hills Road Sixth Form College by Alex Bevan; Filmed and Edited by Toby Peters of Marmalade Films; Produced by Helen Weinstein of HistoryWorks. 

As in previous years, fundraising is a very important part of our Holocaust commemoration activities, to support refugees in particular.  There are two Cambridge charities attempting to support overwhelming needs of refugees and asylum seekers during the pandemic, and we urge donors to be generous to the Cambridge Refugee Hardship Fund giving practical support on the streets of Cambridge, and to the Cambridge Convoy Action Group giving support of food and shelter and clothes to those on the move in Europe.  You can find out more about the charities and how to donate on the information page HERE

Michael Rosen talk at 8pm on Wednesday January 27th 2021 about 'The Missing - My family's Experience of the Holocaust and My Journey to Find Out What Happened'

Please note in your diary that HistoryWorks has organized for Michael Rosen to be our speaker on Holocaust Memorial Day itself suitable for aged over 10 to 100.  At 8pm in the evening, Michael’s Rosen talk will be be free online telling his own story of ‘The Missing. My family’s experience of the Holocaust’ which will be illustrated with his photographs. All are welcome and there will be a Q&A at the end. It is a free event and we ask only for charity donations for Cambridge Charities supporting Refugees and People Experiencing Homelessness.  Find out more information about the talk plus sign-up via email from where you'll be sent a zoom link at Eventbrite here.

Join us for the Civic Holocaust Memorial Event 5pm Sunday 31st January 2021 


Please join us for the civic commemoration, which will be an uplifting community event illustrated with songs, poetry, music, art, dance.  It will be an online event commencing at 5pm on Sunday 31st January. HistoryWorks is producing the Holocaust Memorial Commemoration on behalf of the Mayor and Cambridge City Council.  Michael Rosen and Holocaust Survivor, Eva Clarke will be our narrators. To join in we’ll ask people to have a candle ready to light if they wish as a way of bringing the community together virtually. We'll have the online event launched at 5pm on Sunday via this link at 5pm HERE

Eva Clarke talk at 5pm Sunday 7th January 2021 about her birth during the Holocaust at Mauthaussen Concentration Camp

Please join us for an illustrated talk when Eva Clarke will tell her family story about her birth at a concentration camp during the Holocaust and her survival during the very last days of World War 2. It will be an online event commencing at 5pm on Sunday 5th January, followed by Q&A. It is a free event and we ask only for charity donations for Cambridge Charities supporting Refugees and People Experiencing Homelessness.  Find info about the talk plus sign-up at Eventbrite here.

Learning More about the Holocaust & Genocides










About marking Holocaust Memorial Day in Cambridge

Holocaust Memorial Day is on 27th January every year, because this is the date when Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated.  To find the civic programme for Cambridge's HMD with audio and scripts of the commemoration please find on this website here.

It is a day therefore when we not only remember specific events in the past when people were oppressed, but they were actually killed because of who they were, and these groups included Jews, Roma & Sinti, Disabled people, Gay people who were denied human rights and killed by the Nazi regime. Genocide is when a large number of people are killed on purpose, particularly because of their race, their religion or the colour of their skin.  To find a definition of Genocide go to: http://hmd.org.uk/page/holocaust-genocides

Since the Nazi Holocaust, there have sadly been Genocide atrocities repeatedly, and therefore on Holocaust Memorial Day we remember and hear testimony from Genocides, including from Cambodia, Bosnia, Darfur, Rwanda, and also on the current plight of the Rohingya people in MyanMar because this ethinic Muslim group are denied the right to a nationality, and face severe restrictions regarding freedom of movement, access to education, their liveliehoods, and to practice their religion.  There is evidence of the burning of homes and massacre of these Roghingya civilians. For further information, Amnesty International is documenting the human rights situation: www.amnesty.org.uk/Rohingya

Helen Weinstein, Director of Historyworks, has been leading the education sessions and is the Artistic Director, commissioning the speakers, music, songs, poetry, dance, dramas for the civic programme. Historyworks will be collaborating closely with the poet, Michael Rosen, our 'poet in residence' for our history and poetry projects at Historyworks and we've so far developed an education programme to now be reaching over 5,000 students in 2020 and with over 1,000 attending the main Cambridge civic commemoration.

In 2021 the offer will be online because of the covid pandemic.  The national theme chosen by HMDT for 2021 was 'Be the Light in the Darkness' and at Cambridge we've headlined this theme with VOICES OF HOPE asking the community to light candles of hope at the event, to submit their photos of lit candles cradled in their hands for bringing the community together in an online gathering, and we'll be hearing Voices of Hope from Michael Rosen and our singers from a variety of Cambridge choirs, with young people in schools producing pictures to represent HOPE which will make an online exhibition and be placed in windows in homes and schools and shops so that we can share these messsages of hope for HMD.

Historyworks has been producing the civic programme and educational workshops in Cambridge schools on behalf of Cambridge City Council for the past 4 years.  For 2018, the theme of Holocaust Memorial Day was the 'Power of Words'.  The civic event wias held at Cambridge Guildhall on the afternoon of Sunday 28th January 2018.   We had speaker, Peter Lantos, telling us about his experience as a child survivor of the concentration camp, Bergen-Belsen, and how this experience shaped his life, settling in England & working in medicine. Michael Rosen has been commissioned by Helen Weinstein of Historyworks to write a poem on the 'power of words' which was set to music by Kirsty Martin.

In 2019, Michaeel Rosen wrote two new songs about 'What Home Means to Me' for primary schools, and 'Torn from Home' for secondary and community choirs.  For the civic commemoration we were kindly hosted by Great St Mary's in 2019, with speaker Eric Murangwa who shared with us the terrifyng testimony of his experience as a Tutsi, during the genocide in 1994 against the Tutsti, and how the subsequent denial of the genocide has added to the tragedy.

In 2020, for the 'Stand Together' theme Michael Rosen wrote 3 new lyrics in collaboration with Helen Weinstein who produced the pieces, with the lyrics set to music by the local composer, Bethany Kirby for performance by primary, secondary, community choirs.  If you wish to listen back to the civic commemoration that was held at the Cambridge Corn Exchange on Wheeler Street, from 3pm to 4.30pm on Sunday 26th January, 2020 you can do so on this website HERE.  The theme was 'Stand Together' and hundreds of young people have written poetry in response to hearing the testimony of Holocaust Survivor, Eva Clarke, and heairng from Michael Rosen about how he spent 30 years searching to find out what happened to his Aunts and Uncles who were murdered at Auscwitz- Birkenau. 

We've held KS workshops involving students from 5 secondary schools, and workshops for K2 students involving 11 primary schools, where we've introduced teachers and their students to the theme of the Holocaust Commemoration, shared family experiences of the Holocaust and other genocides to bring the millions of those murdered to a personal testimony that students can relate to, and ended in all our workshops with reflecting on hate crime, expressing empathy with those who have suffered through a genocide or refuguee experience, and this empathy has been expressed through poetry, song, rap, dance, documentary, drama, narrative.  



Michael Rosen Poetry Project responding to Holocaust Memorial Day themes

Michael Rosen's Poetry Recorded in Cambridge as a Resource for Schools and the Public to be inspired to learn about the Holocaust and to write their own Poetry in response is freely available.  

We ask all KS2 and KS3 who attend our Holocaust Education talks and participate in workshops with Michael Rosen and talks with Eva Clarke, to digest what they've heard and to think deeply about the issues and their feelings by responding with their own piece of poetry or song or a rap, related to the HMDT theme. 

This year in 2021 we ask older school students to write poems on the theme of 'Be the Light in the Darkness' and for KS2 and KS3 students to write poems on subject 'Voices of Hope'.

To find the resources with Michael Rosen's poems which Historyworks has recorded for our schools to use as a resource, you can find this group of readings on the Audioboom channel at Historyworks here:


Holocaust Commemoration Talks


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