‘Why did I survive? Perhaps I survived to keep the memory alive.’ – Holocaust survivor Iby Knill read her poem I Was There at the reception.
Yesterday we launched the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2015 to an audience of MPs, genocide survivors and dignitaries at a parliamentary reception - a particularly poignant time to do so on a day that marked the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the Genocide in Rwanda.
Announcing the theme Keep the memory alive to a crowded room, HMDT Chief Executive Olivia Marks-Woldman explained how it will be the thread that pulls together activities organised to commemorate the next Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January 2015.
Given that next year marks not only the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and death camp, but also the 20th anniversary of the Genocide in Srebrenica, it is important that memory is at the heart of the 2015 commemoration.
‘The theme will put centre-stage those who survived these horrors, and we ask you to share their memories – we all have a responsibility to learn and pass on their life stories,’ Olivia Marks-Woldman said in her speech at the parliamentary reception.
To support activity organisers in passing on the memories of survivors and victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides, we have produced a number of life stories to coincide with the theme launch. The notion of memory is at the core of these accounts.
The survivor stories of Joan Salter, David Berger, Ceija Stojka, Arn Chorn-Pond, Eric Eugene Murangwa and Safet Vukalić are each an account of how a specific individual has endured genocide and lived to tell the tale.
Meanwhile, the stories behind the Oneg Shabbat Archive, the Holocaust Centre Memorial Garden, the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial Centre and Cemetery to the Victims of the 1995 Genocide, and the 6 million + button memorial offer different perspectives on remembrance.
HMD Youth Champion Josh Whatsize also has his life story included in our Keep the memory alive launch, as he explains exactly what drives him to ensure the personal stories of genocide survivors are never forgotten.
If you would like to read more about our Keep the memory alive vision, please read this PDF document
(Pictured: Julie Hilling MP, Safet Vukalić, Olivia Marks-Woldman, Iby Knill, Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP)