Holocaust Memorial Day 2023: how Birmingham will be remembering the victims

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A free event at Birmingham City Council House will take place on Sunday to mark Holocaust Memorial Day - here’s what else is happening across the region to mark the day

Birmingham will come together to remember the millions of victims of genocide this week to mark Holocaust Memorial Day (27 January).

The city will pay tribute to the Nazis’ victims and people murdered in subsequent genocides. This year marks the 78th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

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Mindu Hornick MBE, who lives in Birmingham, has discussed her experiences as a Holocaust survivor and the importance of Holocaust Memorial Day.

She said: “By us educating and telling people what happened, we’re hoping is that it will never happen again. Unfortunately, there are still terrible atrocities. It is very important to remember this terrible event, and what we hope is that our education will remind you of what prejudice and hate can do.”

How is Birmingham marking the occasion this year?

Birmingham’s annual civic commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day will be hosted at the Council House this week.

The Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Cllr Maureen Cornish, will lead the event on Sunday (29 January 2023) which this year has the theme of ‘Ordinary People’. The event is free, open to all and starts at 2pm.

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This year’s theme is to remember that ordinary people were the perpetrators, bystanders, rescuers, witnesses and victims. It is also an opportunity to learn more about the past, empathise with others today and take action for a better future.

This year’s programme will feature a candle-lighting ceremony as well as testimony from Mindu Hornick MBE, who will talk about her experiences as a Holocaust survivor, plus performances from violinist Simone Schehtman, Birmingham’s Poet Laureate Jasmine Gardosi and the city council’s choir.

Cllr Jayne Francis, Cabinet Member for Digital, Culture, Heritage and Tourism at Birmingham City Council, will be hosting.

What’s been said about the event?

Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Cllr Maureen Cornish, said: “Holocaust Memorial Day is an opportunity for everyone to pause, reflect and learn lessons from the past and apply them to the present day, to create a safer, better future.

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“We are coming together to light a candle and remember victims of atrocities and genocides around the world, as well as those who are still sadly losing their lives through war, conflict and hate crime. I hope as many people as possible will join us at the Council House on 29 January.”

A national commemoration for Holocaust Memorial Day will be streamed online on Thursday, 26 January, at 7pm. For more details please visit the Holocaust Memorial Day website.

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Holocaust Memorial Day

What else is happening in the city?

Pages, at the Old Rep Theatre, 27 January

A play will be held at the Old Rep on 27 January.

Pages is a verbatim play based on the testimonies of Holocaust survivors. This show follows the testimony of Czechoslovakian survivor Irene Safran, a 21-year-old woman who was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944, alongside her family. Interwoven are several thought-provoking narratives, including that of Kitty Hart-Moxen.

You can get tickets for the play, here.

Events across the region

Solihull

In Solihull, a public service to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day will be taking place at 11:00 am on Thursday 26 January in the Council’s Civic Suite.

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The event, which will last for around an hour, includes guest speaker George Vulkan, Rabbi Yehuda Pink, the Mayor of Solihull, Ken Meeson, and the Chief Superintendent of Solihull NPU, Andy Beard. Saqib Bhatti, the Member of Parliament for Meriden, is also planning to attend.

Poetry readings will be given by students from Langley School, whilst musicians from Solihull School will perform Spiegel im Spiegel, composed by Arvo Pärt, to open the event.

Attendees will be able to pay their respects by signing the book of remembrance for the first time since 2020. The event will be also be livestreamed on Solihull Council’s YouTube channel, here.

Sandwell

Sandwell Council will be marking Holocaust Memorial Day on Friday 27 January 2023 with a special service to be held at 11am in the Memorial Gardens at Highfields House, High Street, West Bromwich.

The service is open to everyone and attendees are requested to arrive at Highfields House (Sandwell Register Office) at least 15 minutes early at 10:45.

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