Holocaust Memorial Day 2023: Light the darkness

People are being encouraged to safely place lit candles in their windows for Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) 2023, taking place on 27 January and themed ‘Ordinary People‘.

Along the theme, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust says: “The horrors of genocide is facilitated by ordinary people. Ordinary people turn a blind eye, believe propaganda, join murderous regimes. And those who are persecuted, oppressed and murdered in genocide aren’t persecuted because of crimes they’ve committed – they are persecuted simply because they are ordinary people who belong to a particular group.”

At 4pm people across the UK will take part in ‘Light the Darkness‘, a national moment organised by HMD where people light candles placing them safely in their windows. Iconic buildings and landmarks will also be lit up in purple during this national moment of commemoration and solidarity.

The Revd Dr Kevin Snyman, Programme Officer for Commitment for Life, reflects on a trip to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC and encourages members of the United Reformed Church (URC) to join in the national moment:

“As a young theological graduate fresh out of uni in the nineties, I remember visiting family who lived near Quantico, Virginia. My uncle worked for AMTRAC and so I made use of the train ride into Washington DC almost every day.

“None of the places I visited impacted me more profoundly than the Holocaust Memorial Museum in DC.

“The Holocaust is a stark reminder of the depth of inhumanity of which ordinary people are capable. But more than that, it reminds us that Gentiles really struggle, I believe, to comprehend the full depth of the collective, Jewish suffering.

“The URC has always stood in in firm solidarity with our Jewish partners, and this year at this solemn time of the Holocaust Memorial Day, we offer our support, solidarity, and hopes for a deep and abiding Shalom to all our Jewish neighbours and friends.”

Light the Darkness aims to build on the national moment that was launched in 2021 to honour those who suffered in the Holocaust and genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.

27 January is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. Six million Jewish people were murdered in the Holocaust. For them and all the other victims of genocide and persecution, a candle was lit at Church House by Carole Sired.

For more information on HMD 2023, see https://www.hmd.org.uk/.

Featured image: Rebecca Peterson/Unsplash.