Council to host virtual exhibition marking Holocaust Day 2024
Fri, January 19, 2024
Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Good Relations Team is inviting people to attend a virtual exhibition to mark Holocaust Memorial Day this year.
Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on January 27th each year, coinciding with the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.
It is a time to remember the millions of people murdered during the Holocaust, under Nazi persecution and in the genocides which followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.
The online exhibition will feature - among other materials - a booklet entitled ‘Canada’, which was penned by Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens, Councillor Steven Callaghan following a visit to Auchswitz-Birkenau. The piece tells the moving story of a young Jewish boy who lived during the Holocaust. Find out more here: Kanada: a play on words – NI Archive
The exhibition also features a “Timeline of Nazi Germany”, which provides a year-by-year account of how freedoms were gradually restricted and removed from the Jewish people from 1933 onwards, long before the start of the Second World War. Another resource outlines genocides that have taken place in other countries throughout the 20th century and in the early years of this century.
Other materials include “Faces of the Holocaust” and “Personal Possessions of the Holocaust”, which feature poems and reflections by participants following their visit to Auchswitz-Birkenau.
The theme for this year is Fragility of Freedom, inspired by the writings of Anne Frank.
"That is when the trouble started for the Jews. Our freedom was severely restricted by a series of anti-Jewish decrees”. Anne Frank, diary entry, Saturday 20 June, 1942 – reflecting back on May 1940 when the Germans arrived in the Netherlands]
Freedom means different things to different people. What is clear is that in every genocide that has taken place, those who are targeted for persecution have first had their freedom restricted and removed, before many of them are murdered. This is often a subtle, slow process.
Genocide never just happens. There is always a set of circumstances which occur, or which are created, to build the climate in which genocide can take place and in which perpetrator regimes can remove the freedoms of those they are targeting. Often, they also restrict the freedoms of others around them, to prevent people from challenging the regime.
Despite this, in every genocide there are those who risk their own freedom to help others, to preserve others’ freedom or to stand up to the regime. This is the theme of the recent “One Life” film, which tells the story of Sir Nicholas Winton and the 669 children that he rescued in the months leading up to World War II.
Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens, Councillor Steven Callaghan said: “This year’s theme, The Fragility of Freedom should cause us to reflect on the fact that not everyone has the freedom that we enjoy and often take for granted. Freedom is fragile and is open to abuse.
“When we come across examples of people’s rights being restricted, we can speak up. And when we see or hear of whole groups being referred to in negative terms, we can remember that every individual should be accorded basic human rights and dignity.
“I would encourage everyone to go online and visit the virtual exhibition - it is a sobering reminder of where the mistreatment of whole groups of people can ultimately take us.”
Joy Wisener, Good Relations Officer, added: “Council is also taking part in the Light The Darkness campaign, which will see Council’s headquarters lit up in purple to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day. Individuals can also take part in this by lighting a candle in their own home on 27th January, taking a photo of it, and sharing it on social media to demonstrate their support of this act of remembrance.”
The virtual exhibition can be viewed here.
Further information about Holocaust Memorial Day Trust can be found at www.hmd.org.uk