‘Fragility of Freedom’ is the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2024

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust encourages remembrance in a world scarred by genocide and as a Council we will promote and support International Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) on 27th January 2024. Holocaust Memorial Day remembers the 6 million Jewish people murdered during the Holocaust, alongside the millions of people murdered under Nazi persecution and during more recent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. The 27th January 2024 marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration camp.

The Holocaust threatened the fabric of civilisation, and genocide must still be resisted every day. Our world often feels fragile and vulnerable and we cannot be complacent. Even in the UK, prejudice and the language of hatred must be challenged by us all in order to promote acceptance and tolerance within our communities. Holocaust Memorial Day is for everyone. Each year across the UK, thousands of people come together to learn more about the past and take action to create a safer future where communities are celebrated and accepted. By standing together we bear witness for those who endured genocide, and honour the survivors and all those whose lives were changed beyond recognition.

The theme for this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) is, ‘Fragility of Freedom’. Freedom means different things to different people. What is clear is that in every genocide that has taken place, those who are targeted for persecution have had their freedom restricted and removed, before many of them are murdered. This is often a subtle, slow process. The ten stages of genocide, as identified by Professor Gregory Stanton, demonstrate that genocide never just happens, there is always a set of circumstances which occur, or which are created, to build the climate in which genocide can take place and in which perpetrator regimes can remove the freedoms of those they are targeting.

– Anne Frank, diary entry, Saturday 20th June, 1942 – reflecting back on May 1940 when the Germans arrived in the Netherlands
“That is when the trouble started for the Jews. Our freedom was severely restricted by a series of anti-Jewish decrees.”

Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) 2024 marks the 30th anniversary of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. 49 years after the Holocaust ended, 19 years after the genocide in Cambodia, the world stood by as Hutu extremists shattered the fragile freedom in Rwanda, following decades of tension and violence, culminating in the murder of over one million Tutsis in just one hundred days.
To show Blaenau Gwent Council’s commitment to commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day, The Deputy Leader, Councillor Cunningham will be taking part in the national ‘Light in the Darkness’ campaign by lighting a candle and as act of solidarity, The General Offices, Ebbw Vale will be illuminated on the 27th January 2024.
The Story of Harry Spiro, a Holocaust Survivor will also be shared as part of the Valleys Voices podcast which has been produced by the Gwent Community Cohesion Team. Harry’s experiences are told by his daughter, Tracy Moses. Valleys Voices provides a platform for individuals to share their stories and to explore how a sense of place can unite diverse communities.

Please listen to Harry’s story here Valleys Voices - Podcasts | Blaenau Gwent CBC (blaenau-gwent.gov.uk)

Tredegar Town Council are also marking the historic international moment by inviting members of the public take part in the ‘Light in the Darkness’ campaign at Aneurin Bevan Stones, Tredegar. Guests are welcome to create their own light - whether merely just by lighting a tea light or a candle in a jar! Join us at the below location, date and time.

Location: Aneurin Bevan Stones, Tredegar, NP22 4NZ
Date: Saturday, 27 January 2024
Time: To commence at 6.00 p.m.

Deputy Leader Councillor Helen Cunningham said: “Last year Blaenau Gwent Council granted the freedom of the borough to Holocaust survivor Eva Clark. We will continue to commemorate International Holocaust Memorial Day every year, and this year the Council will be lighting a candle and lighting up The General Offices, Ebbw Vale in an act of solidarity.

Presiding Member Councillor Chris Smith and Councillor Helen Cunningham, Deputy Leader/Cabinet Member lighting the candle for Holocaust Memorial Day.   From left to right: Gethin & Sean from ‘No Boundaries’, Councillor Chris Smith, Councillor George Humphreys, Policy Officer (Engagement & Equality) Lissa Friel, Councillor Helen Cunningham, Service Manager Policy & Partnerships Andrew Parker and Service Manager for Business Support Hannah Meyrick.


Holocaust Memorial Day Trust’s website: Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (hmd.org.uk)