Holocaust Memorial Day

The Holocaust Memorial Day, 27th January, is a day to remember the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, alongside millions of other people, persecuted due to their beliefs, ethnicity, political views, sexuality or for standing against the Nazis. The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust also encourages remembrance and  reflection about other more recent genocides including: Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. 

Ms Railton gave an excellent assembly this week about this day and the theme: Ordinary People. The Holocaust Memorial Trust states: Ordinary people were involved in all aspects of the Holocaust, Nazi persecution of other groups, and in the genocides that took place in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. Ordinary people were perpetrators, bystanders, rescuers, witnesses – and ordinary people were victims.

In every genocide, those targeted faced limited choices – ‘choiceless choices’ (Lawrence Langer) but in every genocide the perpetrators have choices, ordinary people have choices.

Sometimes, these choices were limited too, sometimes they had to make life-threatening decisions. And ordinary people were the ones who made brave decisions to rescue, to hide or stand up. But ordinary people also made decisions to ignore what was going on around them, to be bystanders, to allow the genocide to continue.

Ms Railton examined some of those 'ordinary people': some who suffered and lost their lives and some who took the very brave decision to try and help those persecuted. She emphasised the power that ordinary people still have and the choice young people have to not be bystanders when they hear hate or prejudice but rather use their voices to counter these narratives and stand back objectively to make informed decisions as they get older. 

Ms Railton also shared resources for teachers to use in their lessons, whilst Year 8 watched a video in their REPs lesson produced by a local synagogue group about the holocaust and its lasting effects. With antisemitism on the rise, it is all the more important to discuss these difficult topics with students and to remind them to respect and treat each other with kindness.





Category / All Articles