Friday, 27 January, 2017
How can life go on? was the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2017.
The aftermath of the Holocaust and of subsequent genocides continues to raise challenging questions for individuals, communities and nations. HMD 2017 asked audiences to think about what happens after genocide and of our own responsibilities in the wake of such a crime. The theme was broad and open ended, there were few known answers.
Author and survivor of the Holocaust Elie Wiesel has said:
'For the survivor death is not the problem. Death was an everyday occurrence. We learned to live with Death. The problem is to adjust to life, to living. You must teach us about living.'
Scope of the theme:
- Trauma and coming to terms with the past: The theme will ask audiences to consider how individuals and nations who have survived the horrors of genocide can begin to come to terms with the trauma and their past.
- Displacement and refugees: Times of genocide are always times of acute social upheaval; tens of thousands, sometimes millions, of people are forced from or flee their homes. The question of how life can go on is bound up with where it goes on.
- Justice: Some claim there is no such thing as justice after genocide. The theme will encourage thinking about what the concept of justice means and who gets to decide what form it takes.
- Rebuilding communities: Genocide destroys and divides communities. The theme will challenge people to think about how communities can rebuild when whole sections are missing or when survivors and perpetrators live side-by-side
- Reconciliation and forgiveness: Is true reconciliation and forgiveness possible or even desirable? The theme will explore attitudes towards forgiveness.
- Remembering: The theme asks the questions: Why is remembering important to helping life go on? How do we remember when there is nobody left to tell the story?
- Facing hate - denial and trivialisation: Denial is the final stage of genocide. The theme will call on everybody to fight denial and ask the question of how life can go on after the Holocaust and genocide whilst denial and trivialisation exist.
- Facing hate - today: Antisemitism and other forms of hate continue today. The theme will help people to consider individual, organisational, community and governmental responsibilities for protecting the rights of marginalised communities.
- Teach us about living: Everyone will be asked the question: ‘what can you do to help those who have survived genocide, as well as all those from persecuted groups ensure that life goes on?’