Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD)

Holocaust Memorial Day is on 27th January every year, because this is the date when Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated.

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.

Historyworks is producing the civic programme and educational workshops in Cambridge schools on behalf of Cambridge City Council.  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 has written 3 new lyrics in collaboration with Helen Weinstein, set to music by the local composer, Bethany Kirby for performance by primary, secondary, community choirs.  If you wish to attend the civic commemoration it is free and unicked at the Cambridge Corn Exchange on Wheeler Street, from 3pm to 4.30pm on Sunday 26th January, 2020.  All are Welcome!  The theme is '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.  To find the resources with Michael Rosen's poems which Historyworks has recorded for our schools to use as a resourcee, you can find this group of readings on the Audioboom channel at Historyworks here:



Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD)


In this section