Record programme reflects nationwide support for HMD
HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL Day will be marked at venues from prisons to Westminster Bridge with a record number of events.
Previewing this year’s programme, HMD Trust chief executive Olivia Marks-Woldman said communities had built on the 3,614 activities arranged in 2015.
Ms Marks-Woldman said that “people have been really energised” by the theme of Don’t Stand By, explaining that it was chosen “so we could learn about people in the past who tolerated and stood by what was going on”.
During the Shoah, many had benefited “by looting abandoned homes and so on and allowing hostile policies and insidious views to take root”. Yet others “didn’t stand by, assisted and resisted, sabotaged and were rescuers.
“These people who took some kind of action were incredibly courageous. Under oppressive regimes such as the Nazis and in subsequent genocides, speaking out was incredibly dangerous for people and their families.
“From them, we can learn what we can do today not to stand by to injustice, prejudice or international situations that have a risk of descending into genocide.”
HMD projects she highlighted included that of British artist Clare Twomey, which was prompted by a meeting with Bosnian war survivor Nisad Jakupovic.
At Omarska concentration camp, where Mr Jakupovic was held, prisoners carved small wooden spoons to drink the soup they were given by their captors.
Last year, Ms Twomey distributed messages asking people what human- ity meant to them. She carved the answers — including “compassion and mindfulness”, “an open mind” and “hope” — into 2,000 spoons, which she will hand out to pedestrians on Westminster Bridge.
I n m a t e s a t P o l mont Young Offenders Institution in Falkirk are youth champions for the trust and will mar k H MD with an artwork inspired by the HMDT’s Flames For Humanity’s Heroes project.
Ms Marks-Woldman said the 2016 theme was particularly engaging the young. “They’re very excited. Our youth champion programme — which has a board of 12 young people working with us to enthuse and enable their peers — means they are becoming the drivers of HMD.
“It’s about young people not just being on the receiving end of civic events or school assemblies but taking charge and putting on HMD activities for their peers.”
They had staged workshops, a flash mob and, in the case of a youth champion in Southampton, written and staged a play at a local theatre.
She added that it was “really important to note that HMD is for the nonJewish community. The model that the trust has followed is to make it easy for people in all kinds of organisations — including libraries, cinemas, museums and the emergency services — to mark the day with tailor-made resources that we provide.”
Young people are becomingthe driversofHMD, puttingon activities for their peers