Holocaust Memorial Day: honouring 6m victims
Events held across UK on 27 January mark liberation of Auschwitz in 1945
IT REMAINS the largest systematic persecution of any single race on earth. The Holocaust – or Shoah in Hebrew - claimed the lives of six million Jewish men, women and children between 1933, when Hitler came to power in Germany, and 1945, when the Nazis were finally defeated.
The atrocity, which also targeted homosexuals, gypsies and other minorities, will be remembered in the UK this month by Holocaust Memorial Day. The commemoration is designed to encourage people to reflect on the horrors of the Holocaust and, just as importantly, learn from the mistakes of the past.
Here's what you need to know:
When is Holocaust Memorial Day?
Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on 27 January every year in the UK. It marks the anniversary of the liberation - by the Soviet Union - of the largest Nazi death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, in 1945, towards the end of World War II.
The United Nations and the European Union commemorate the same anniversary with an event called International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It came about after the UN General Assembly marked the 60th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust in 2005.
Many other countries dedicate a day to remember the victims of the Holocaust, although they are mostly held on different dates to those staged by the UK, UN and EU.
Where do events take place?
Since its inception in 2001, Holocaust Memorial Day has been hosted by eight UK cities: London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff, Newcastle, Liverpool and Coventry.
For the past four years, the commemoration has been held in London. The capital will be the focus for the event again this year, although similar events are planned in Stirling, Cardiff and Belfast. Last year, according to The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, more than 2,000 smaller commemorations took place across the UK.
What happens on the 27 January?
Every year, Holocaust Memorial Day centres on a specific theme. It helps participants remember the millions of people killed in the Holocaust as well as those who have been victims of other atrocities, such as the genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. The day is used to teach children and young adults that hatred and exclusion should not be part of their future.
What's this year's theme?
The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day in 2014 is "Journeys". In particular, the journeys of terror and hope that were made by victims of the Holocaust and other genocides. The aim is to encourage people to remember those who travelled to the UK and rebuilt their lives here.
Who promotes it?
The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust is the charity that promotes and supports Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK. The UK Government had responsibility for running Holocaust Memorial Day from 2001 to 2005. Since 2007, the Trust's work has been funded by The Department for Communities and Local Government. The Queen is Patron.