Holocaust Memorial Day 2014

27/01/2014 12:32 pm

Votive candles, some extinguished

Holocaust Memorial Day falls on 27 January. It's a day when the world pauses to remember the millions of people who were murdered in the Holocaust, under Nazi persecution, as well as millions more who have died in subsequent genocides.

The theme for HMD 2014 is 'Journeys' - the terrifying journeys to Nazi death camps or forced labour camps as well as the journeys of refugees trying to find a safe place to call their home.

Pope Francis

A new pope must prioritise. So many things crying out for his attention, what must come first? Just days after his election Pope Francis wrote to the Chief Rabbi of Rome.

No-one was surprised that writing this letter came high on the new Pope’s list of what he must do; he and his friend Rabbi Abraham Skorka of Buenos Aries have co-authored a book, On Heaven and Earth, in which the then Archbishop Bergoglio wrote this:

"The Shoah [Holocaust] is genocide, like the others from the twentieth century, but it has a distinctive feature... an idolatrous construction against the Jewish people.

"The pure race, the superior beings, they are idols for the foundation upon which Nazism was built... Each Jew that they killed was a slap in the face to the living God in the name of idols."


In 2000, a commitment was made in Stockholm by the Holocaust Taskforce to encourage remembrance of the Holocaust by holding an annual Holocaust Memorial Day.

The UK, one of the 28 member countries of this taskforce, held its first national Holocaust Memorial Day in 2001. The date chosen was 27 January, the day in 1945 when the Auschwitz/Birkenau concentration camp was liberated.

Throughout the UK, civic and local events, as well as school assemblies, will be held to recall and learn lessons from the Nazi persecution and murder of millions of Jews and others, as well as the subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

Survivors of these atrocities will be honoured and their stories heard. Genocide, antisemitism, racism, xenophobia and discrimination continue and must be challenged.



Resources and Links


HMD Booklet

hmd-2014-booklet.pdf 2.88 MB

A resource booklet to help parishes and Catholics mark the 2014 Holocaust Memorial Day. With thanks to Fr Chris Jackson and Fr Dan Fitzpatrick.