Tuesday, 10 September, 2013

Holocaust survivor Freddie Knoller, Kindertranportees Ann and Bob Kirk, and filmmaker Berge Kanikanian launched HMD 2014's resources at the Houses of Parliament today.  











This morning we launched our resources for Holocaust Memorial Day 2014 at a special event at the Houses of Parliament.  People whose life stories we have chosen to feature this year - Bob and Ann Kirk, Freddie Knoller and Berge Kanikanian, joined John Andrews who supported the production of Hedy Klein's life story, Mike Freer MP and the HMDT team to take a look at how their stories will be used by HMD activity organisers across the UK in January.

HMDT resources will support you in marking 27 January and bringing people together to reflect on the multitude of Journeys that people have been forced to undertake because of genocide.  They will also help you to inspire others to take a step towards creating a safer, better future, free from the dangers of hatred and persecution.

Journeys is the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2014.  On HMD 2014 we can learn how journeys themselves became part of genocide, and how the journeys undertaken were often experiences of persecution and terror for so many people who suffered in the Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution and in the subsequent genocides.  We can also learn about the journeys that brought survivors to the UK and how, in many instances, journeys of return have been part of the experience of rebuilding.

Download the 2014 theme vision
The theme vision explains more about why Journeys is the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2014, explores the different types of journeys experienced by people who suffered under genocide, and provides suggestions for resources and further reading.

Participate in the 2014 online action – take a step
The online action enables everyone to make a public pledge to take a step for Holocaust Memorial Day, by sharing the life story of a survivor of genocide with friends, attending an HMD activity, lighting a candle, or by making a personal pledge for HMD.

Order or download the 2014 Activity Organiser Pack
Our Activity Organiser Pack is the main resource we provide to people considering organising an HMD activity.  It contains a guidance booklet, a set of HMD 2014 posters, an example of our ‘About HMD’ booklet, a set of stickers and a metal HMD badge.  Order yours today!

Download our 2014 educational resources
Our theme-specific series of lesson plans and assemblies are designed for anyone who wishes to commemorate HMD in the classroom, in an assembly, or in an education setting and are suitable for primary, secondary and SEN students.

Download our 2014 tailored resources
We have created advice for HMD 2014, tailored for your audience on the theme of Journeys.  Our factsheets provide tips and ideas on how to mark HMD for the following audiences:

Cinemas, Educators, Emergency services, Faith and interfaith, Libraries, Local authorities, Sports, Trade unions, Workplaces

Life stories for HMD 2014: Journeys

Freddie Knoller

Survivor of the Holocaust

All those who were able to walk, we had to walk from Auschwitz to Gleiwitz...  about twenty or thirty kilometres.  It was January, -20°C with our pyjamas on...  so many people collapsed and so many people ran away into the woods, the Germans surrounded us shooting.      

Ann Kirk


As a ten-year old, my feelings on my journey were a mixture of trepidation, but also excitement – a feeling that my parents had encouraged - allowing me to firmly believe that they would be joining me in the near future.  That, of course sadly did not happen.

Bob Kirk


My parents had been on the first transport out of Hanover, on 15 December 1941, to a concentration camp in Riga, Latvia.  They never returned.

Hedy Klein and her memory book

Hedy was taken to Auschwitz from her hometown of Oradea, leaving her precious memory book behind. After the war Hedy was reunited with her memory book, providing a link to Jewish life in the town before the Holocaust.

Big barrels of what they called soup was brought to us… We didn’t eat for three days, four days almost…  but it was not a soup that you ever thought of as soup, it was what we know as dishwater, some kind of a liquid that had twigs in it and sand in it and pebbles in it…  it tasted terrible and then I reminded myself if this is all we get, if there is some nourishment in it, I must force myself and drink it and so I held my nose and I cried and I swallowed and swallowed and swallowed.

Gad Beck
Gay Jewish man who survived the whole of Nazi rule living in Berlin, working for the resistance in the city.

“Gad, I can’t go with you. My family needs me. If I abandon them now, I could never be free.” No smile, no sadness. He had made his decision. We didn’t even say goodbye. He turned around and went back.

In those seconds, watching him go, I grew up.

Gad Beck describing the moment his lover Manfred Lewin chose to return to his family, to be deported to their deaths at Auschwitz

Nods family
Dutch mixed-race family who sheltered Jewish people during Nazi occupation.

‘The story of my parents, which seemed to have been forgotten with time, is now told and I am grateful for that.’

Waldy Nods

Berge Kanikanian
Berge has learning difficulties.  He was inspired to make a film about Aktion T4, the Nazi programme which attempted to murder German citizens who had mental or physical disabilities.

I wanted to go out there and improve lives for people with Down’s syndrome and other disabilities. 

Var Ashe Houston

Survivor of the Genocide in Cambodia

My family were evacuated...  The train was packed like sardines… altogether 3,000 of us in one train.  And it took three days… that was a nightmare in itself.  People died on the train, and they wouldn’t stop for us to bury the dead.

Appolinaire Kageruka                

Survivor of the Genocide in Rwanda

I stayed in Rwanda after the genocide, we tried to go back to work, to find others and make friends, to find out if you have some family members left.  Then we tried to build the country again, to build a family again, to build ourselves again.

Henriette Mutegwaraba

Survivor of the Genocide in Rwanda

Three months after the Genocide, I received a letter from my younger sister, Chantal.  She told me, ‘All our family has been killed…Aunt Marie Rose and I are the only ones who survived.  Why don’t you come back?  I need you, please come back.’ my family was still alive.  I      decided to go back to Rwanda.

Hasan Hasanović

Survivor of the Genocide in Bosnia

It wasn’t going to be an easy journey, but we had no other option.  We wanted to live.


Dr Mukesh Kapila CBE

Witness to the Genocide in Darfur who has campaigned for international action to be taken to stop it

Whole families had come on foot or partially hitching lifts on trucks, making the epic journey of 1,000 kilometres or more to escape the troubles … I knew that things had to be far more serious in Darfur.  People only fled such a distance if there was some real, tangible fear       driving them onwards.