Torn from home: Holocaust Memorial Day 27 January

Torn from home is the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2019.

Kindertransport girls passing through customs

There are activities across the capital to mark this important day. Some of the borough events are listed below. Find an activity near you on the HMD site.

Holocaust Memorial Day is the day for everyone to remember the millions of people murdered in the Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution, and in the genocides which followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.

Torn from home encourages us to reflect on how the enforced loss of a safe place to call ‘home’ is part of the trauma faced by anyone experiencing persecution and genocide. ‘Home’ usually means a place of safety, comfort and security. On HMD 2019 people across the UK will reflect on what happens when individuals, families and communities are driven out of, or wrenched from their homes, because of persecution or the threat of genocide, alongside the continuing difficulties survivors face as they try to find and build new homes when the genocide is over.

HMD 2019 will include marking the 25th anniversary of the Genocide in Rwanda, which began in April 1994 and the 40th anniversary of the end of the Genocide in Cambodia, which ended in 1979. HMD activity organisers may particularly want to acknowledge this milestone anniversary, and reflect on how this theme impacts on members of the Rwandan and Cambodian communities.

Safet is a survivor of the Bosnian War. This photograph is taken in his living room.

Safet was 16 when Muslim men and boys began being taken away to concentration camps. He remembers his father and brother being ordered out of the house, and his mother stopped him from going with them. He came to England with his mother, and later his father and brother joined them.

Safet is holding a school photograph, taken in 1982 when he was six years old, before the war started.

‘It was a really mixed group in terms of religion. We were kids and we didn’t think of religion at all. I have chosen this [photograph] because it shows how things were before, and it just reminds me. It would be nice to be able to go back to how it used to be. It can be done, I’m 100% certain. We have no problems between ourselves, it’s the politicians making these problems, and that’s the most frustrating thing.

‘It’s important to keep the memory alive, because some people are just not aware of what was happening in Bosnia, it’s a surprise to me. People were dying in concentration camps, torture took place, in Europe, in the 90s. Everyone thought that once World War II was over that wouldn’t happen again, but it did.

Click on the dates for borough HMD 2019 events. If you know of others, please add a comment to this post with details. A map of activities is on the HMD site.

Keeping the memory alive: Holocaust Memorial Day


An important date which brings us all together each year is Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January.  Boroughs across London are planning events.

“HMD is a time when we seek to learn the lessons of the past and to recognise that genocide does not just take place on its own, it’s a steady process which can begin if discrimination, racism and hatred are not checked and prevented.”

This year is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau WWII death camp and also the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide in Bosnia.

There are plenty of imaginative resources to mark the theme for 2015 “Keep the memory alive” on the HMD website.

The HMD team is always very helpful to anyone planning a local event.  Get in touch with them for advice and visit their activity page here.

Upcoming events

London 2014 rThere’s plenty on in London to get 2014 off to a great start!

20 January 9.30am – 4.10pm  A Conversation about Conflict exploring the faith influences that can be used to tackle difficult issues in a community setting.  St Ethelburga’s and Christian Muslim Forum are co-facilitating the workshop at 305 Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9LH.  Details here.

  • Could your faith community improve the way it responds to conflict?
  • Are you interested in bringing the principles and practices of your faith into your responses to conflict?
  • Are you interested in sharing your faith practices across faiths and learning from each other?

22 January 10am-12pm Together in Service funding briefing at Bethnal Green Mission Church, 305 Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9LH.  There’s also a chance to talk to the TiS team individually about potential projects.  Details here.

22 January 6.30-8pm  Poverty and the Tolerance of the Intolerable – talk by Prof Amartya Sen at LSE . The talk will be live-streamed on LSE’s website and a podcast made available. Details here.

27 January  Holocaust Memorial Day events have been been organised by many London boroughs in cooperation with local religious communities, including Barnet, Lewisham, Haringey, Southwark, Greenwich, Croydon, Brent, Lambeth, Hounslow and Havering.  Details of all London events here.

27 January 5.30pm European Parliament training event with Faiths Forum for London at Europe House, Smith Square, W1.  The aim is to engage with citizens and faith groups to raise awareness of the issues and debates taking place in European Parliament and how citizens can get involved the decision making. Details here.

South London Inter Faith Group meets on the last Thursday of the month at 12.30-2pm at Streatham Friends Meeting House, Roupell Park Estate, Redland Way, SW2 3LU.  Next meeting 30 JanuaryDetails here.

4 February 6pm The Dialogue Society Book Group Meeting 5: A Distant Shore, by Caryl Phillips The Dialogue Society, 402 Holloway Road, N7 6PZ.  Details here.

Westminster Faith Debates are back with a new series, on global religious trends, at RUSI, 61 Whitehall, SW1A 2ET at 5.30pm, including on 12 February What is driving sectarian violence in the wake of the Arab spring? and on 12 March Are attempts to promote worldwide religious freedom naive or necessary?  Details here.

18 February Women in the 21st Century conference at Queen Mary University, London E1 4NS with a wide range of speakers and workshops (£40). Details here.

Westminster Cathedral Interfaith Group meets next to the Cathedral in Victoria on the third Wednesday of the month at 4pm.  Upcoming speakers include Hugo Clarke (Curzon Institute) on World War 1 (19  February), Raheed Salam, faith and interfaith consultant for NCVYS (19 March).  Details here.

11 March 3-5pm  London Boroughs Faiths Network meeting at the Department for Communities and Local Government, Eland House, Bressenden Place, SW1E 5DU.  We are also planning two focused meetings on health and on young Londoners.

Goldsmiths’ Faiths and Civil Society Unit has a series on Faith in the Public Realm, including How do governments do God?  Warwick Hawkins MBE, Head of Faith Communities Engagement, Department for Communities and Local Government
12 March at 5pm.  Near Neighbours – can Christians do public faith for everyone? Dilwar Hussain, New Horizons in British Islam, 14 May at 5pm.  Details here.

15 March  God and Government Conference with Theos, covering welfare, religious freedom, multiculturalism, and education among others.  Details here.

Research Project on Attitudes to Self-Sacrificial Death for National and/or Religious Motives.  Prof John Wolffe (Professor of Religious History, The Open University) is interested to hear from anyone from a Catholic, Protestant or Muslim background who would like to take part in this study by being interviewed.  “In the run-up to the centenaries of the outbreak of the First World War (August 1914), of the Easter Rising in Dublin (April 1916) and of the Battle of the Somme (July 1916), we are developing a historical and contemporary study of British and Irish views on martyrdom and sacrificial death. We are interested not only in perceptions of events a century ago, but also in the way casualties have been regarded in events within living memory such as the Falklands War of 1982, the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland and IRA attacks in the mainland UK in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. We are also exploring more contemporary examples, notably reactions to the 9/11 and 7/7 bombings, to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to the ‘Arab Spring’.”  Details here.

Journeys . . .

Have you made plans to mark Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January?  There are already 13 events listed in London boroughs, including Brent, Greenwich, Barnet and Westminster.

HMD2014The theme is Journeys.  We’re encouraged to organise our own events or take part in other people’s activities.  The HMD organiser packs are always excellent – order one here.

“For Holocaust Memorial Day 2014, we will learn of the multitude of Journeys that people were forced to undertake, in fear of what would be found at the end.

We will do so at events that bring us together with our neighbours, that strengthen bonds of respect, and that enable us to pledge to take a step towards creating a safer, better future.”

We can also get involved online, marking our support for a day which encourages us to remember the stories from the Holocaust and subsequent genocides, to be alert to racism, prejudice and discrimination and to “support the view that all citizens – without distinction – should participate freely and fully in the economic, social and public life of the nation.

support the view that all citizens – without distinction – should participate freely and fully in the economic, social and public life of the nation – See more at:

clickThere are plenty of resources and ideas for different kinds of events and activities, including ideas and information especially for religious and multifaith groups.  There are podcasts from Revd Toby Howarth (the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Inter Religious Affairs adviser), Hasan Hasanović (a Bosnian Muslim remembering Srebrenica) and on the role of Righteous Muslims during WWII.

Please add any plans you or your borough or faith forum have for Holocaust Memorial Day in a comment below so that the invitations can be shared widely.

Build a bridge | Holocaust Memorial Day 2013

IMG_3611Today is Holocaust Memorial Day.  Many of us will be remembering those communities which were destroyed during the Holocaust under Nazi persecution and the subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

London boroughs are holding events today, tomorrow and during the week.

You can find a list of events below, reproduced from the Holocaust Memorial Day website, which is full of excellent information and campaigning material.  Follow the links in the left column for details.  Let me know if you have an event to add.

The theme this year is Communities Together: Build a Bridge and everyone is asked to make links across communities and help to HMD_2013_Logo_Cyan_on_Black_jpeg_1create a safer, better future – and to register their action on the website.

Watch the Lessons Learnt? video below.

Portraits of Primo Levy Camden 10 January 2013 – 28 February 2013
Memorial and ‘Eight Stages’ Display Barking and Dagenham 21 January 2013 – 29 January 2013
I Will Art Installation Tower Hamlets 25 January 2013 – 27 January 2013
Jewish East End Extravaganza Shoreditch 25 January 2013 – 27 January 2013
Sutton Holocaust Memorial Day Event Sutton 27 January 2013, 10:30am
Holocaust and Genocide Memorial Day 2013 Wembley 27 January 2013, 11:00am
Holocaust Memorial Day at the Jewish Museum London Camden 27 January 2013, 11:30am
Holocaust Memorial Day Service Romford 27 January 2013, 2:00pm
Young people’s production at the Broadway Theatre Catford 27 January 2013, 4:00pm
Open Rehearsal ‘Judgment at Nuremberg’ Camden 27 January 2013, 4:00pm
Reflections on Communities Together: Build a Bridge Finchley 27 January 2013, 6:00pm
Music and Poetry of Viktor Ullmann at the LJS Westminster 27 January 2013, 7:00pm
Play – ‘The Good and The True’ Marylebone 27 January 2013, 7:00pm
HMD event in Redbridge Jewish Community Centre Ilford 27 January 2013, 7:30pm
Islington Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration Islington 28 January 2013, 10:30am
Holocaust Memorial Day service Ilford 28 January 2013, 11:00am
Holocaust Memorial Day 2013 Croydon 28 January 2013, 11:30am
Holocaust Memorial Screening of ‘Sarah’s Key’ Barnet 28 January 2013, 6:30pm
Play – ‘The Good and The True’ Hampstead 28 January 2013, 8:00pm
Holocaust Memorial Day Hounslow 29 January 2013, 11:30am
‘I was a number… Memories of the Holocaust’ Camden 29 January 2013, 6:30pm
Social Media and Raising Awareness of the Holocaust Camden 29 January 2013, 7:00pm
Play – ‘The Good and The True’ Hampstead 29 January 2013 – 31 January 2013
Holocaust Memorial Day at the Human Rights Action Centre, London Shoreditch 30 January 2013, 6:30pm
Play – ‘The Good and The True’ Hampstead 03 February 2013, 3:30pm
‘Judgement At Nuremberg’ by Abby Mann City of London 20 March 2013 – 23 March 2013

What’s On

There’s plenty on in London over the next few weeks for LBFN folk – please use the comment box to add your own suggestions.

Image: Hajj certificate (detail). 17th–18th century AD. Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art (Khalili Family Trust).

Hajj – journey to the heart of Islam opens at the British Museum, WC1, today (until 15th April) to favourable reviews and previews.  £12 (free to members).

There’s an invitation for pilgrims to add their most vivid memory of Hajj on the British Museum website – some Londoners have already contributed.

The synagogues of Britain: an architectural and social heritage.  Talk by Sharman Kadish at Chadwick Lecture Theatre, UCL, Gower Street, WC1.  Monday 27th February, 6.15pm.  Free.

Faith Debates from the Religion and Society Research Programme at RUSI, 61 Whitehall, SW1A 2ET at 5.30 – 7pm.  Free: register with

After the Riots – from blame to positive action, a one-day forum to understand different perspectives on the underlying civic, moral, political and social perspectives, organised by Initiatives of Change, The Cordoba Foundation and Civil Society Forum on Wednesday, 1st February 10am – 5pm at Initiatives of Change Centre, 24 Greencoat Place, London SW1P 1RD.  Speakers include Dr Peter Selby. Free: download a registration form here and send to or

Roots and Rise of Islamophobia in Europe  Saturday 4th February 1.15pm, Finsbury Park Mosque, 7–11 St Thomas’s Rd, N4 2QH.  Free: register with

Together Thursday 2nd February at 6pm – talk by Richard Sennett at RSA, 8 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6EZ.  Living with people who differ – racially, ethnically, religiously, or economically – is one of the most difficult challenges facing us today.  It requires more than goodwill: it requires skill. Free: register here.

2012 Inter Faith Walks – a special meeting with South London Inter Faith Group on Thursday 8th February 6.30-8pm (including hot vegetarian meal) at Southwark Cathedral, London Bridge, SE1.  Get tips on organising a walk in your own borough during the weekend of 14th – 15th July, bringing together people from many different religious traditions.  Upload your invitation here.

Reclaiming London Together – a meeting to promote collaboration for London’s young people after the 2011 disturbances, organised by Faiths Forum for London with the Fayre Share Foundation on Monday 5th March.  £15 each (under 24s free), with Boris Johnson, Camila Batmanghelidjh and Rt Revd Christopher Chessun.

Religion, Civil Religion and the Common Good  Conference at London Metropolitan University, 20th-21st June.  £60 (£35 for one day).  Papers invited.  Contributors include Dr Patrick Riordan, S.J., Heythrop College, University of London.

Inter Faith Network for the UK – the latest newsletter is packed with information.

Holocaust Memorial Day is being marked across London this week and over the weekend – see the list of borough events.

“On 27 January 2012, we are asking you to consider what you see and hear around you . .

. . and to use your voices to Speak Up against hatred and discrimination.” Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.

Holocaust Memorial Day falls on 27th January each year – which is this Friday.  Use the memory of those whose voices were silenced (victims of the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and subsequent genocides) to Speak Out today.  HMD Trust has loads of info, stories, video clips & inspirational ideas for us all to use.

Birkenau death camp, where thousands were murdered during WWII. Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated by the Soviet army on 27th January 1945.

Many London boroughs mark Holocaust Memorial Day, often in association with local religious communities and faith forums.  Here is a list of this year’s events (let me know if yours is missing):

  • BARNET Sunday 22 January, 1pm, at Ricketts Quadrangle, Middlesex University, The Burroughs, Hendon, NW4 4BT.
  • BARKING & DAGENHAM 23-27 January, an exhibition/display and a Candle of Remembrance on Friday 27.  Barking and Dagenham College, Dagenham Road, Romford.
  • BRENT Thursday 26 January 7pm to 9pm in Willesden Green Library Centre, The Black experience in Nazi Germany and wartime Europe by Akin Shenbanjo Jr.
  • CAMDEN  27 January 6.30 to 8pm at the Conference Centre, British Library, 96 Euston Road, NW1 2DB.
  • CROYDON Friday 27 January, 11:30am – 1:15pm at Croydon Town Hall
  • EALING Friday 27 January 11am, tree planting outside Perceval House offices.
  • ENFIELD   Thursday 26th January 6pm – 8.30pm, Dugdale Centre, Thomas Hardy House, Enfield Town.
  • HACKNEY Friday 27 January 10.30am in the Council Chamber, Hackney Town Hall
  • HARINGEY‘s multi-faith event took place on Sunday 22nd January
  • HAVERING  29 January 14:00 until 15:00, Coronation Gardens, Main Road, Romford, RM1 3BD
  • HOUNSLOW Thursday 26 January 11.30am Holocaust Memorial Day service beside the Holocaust memorial tree at the Civic Centre, Hounslow.
  • ISLINGTON Friday 27 January 10.30am to 1.30pm, Committee Rooms 5 & 6, Islington Town Hall.
  • LAMBETH  Sunday 29 January 3 to 4.30pm, Lambeth Town Hall.
  • LEWISHAM  Saturday 28 January 12 noon, Multi-faith service, Catford Synagogue, Crantock Road SE6 2QT.
  • NEWHAM  Friday 27 January 10am to 12noon, Newham Town Hall, Barking Road, E6 2RP.
  • MERTON  Thursday 26 January from 7:00pm until 9:00pm in the Council Chamber, Merton Civic Centre.
  • REDBRIDGE Friday, 27 January at 11am at Holocaust Memorial Garden, Valentines Park.
  • SOUTHWARK  27 January 10am – 12.30am, The Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, SE1 6HZ
  • SUTTON  Friday 27 January from 10.30am – 12 noon, Europa Gallery, Sutton.
  • TOWER HAMLETS  Sunday 29 January 2.30 – 4.30pm, East London Central Synagogue, 30-40 Nelson Street, London, E1 2DE.
  • WALTHAM FOREST  Sunday 29 January  3pm-6pm, Harmony Hall, 10 Truro Road, Walthamstow E17 8QP.
  • EUROPE HOUSE  Wednesday 25 January to Friday 10 February, an exhibition of art by Hungarian Holocaust survivor Moshe Galili at the European Commission, London, SW1.

Keep talking

Terry from the HMD team has been in touch with LBFN – the pack is particularly good this year and here’s the latest on resources:

Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) takes place on 27 January each year.  The purpose of HMD is to honour and remember the victims and survivors of the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and the ongoing atrocities in Darfur.  HMD gives us all a chance to look to our own lives and communities today and gives us an opportunity to celebrate the things which are sometimes used as reasons to separate us.

The theme for HMD 2011 is Untold Stories. Millions of lives have been wasted and whole communities wiped out due to the Holocaust and subsequent genocides.  The victims are not just a statistic; each of these lives were individual. Somebody’s friend.  A mother.  A father.  A child.  A colleague.  A neighbour.  HMD 2011 gives us all the chance to tell some of these stories so they are never forgotten.  As Ibi Ginsburg, a Holocaust survivor, says:

‘We carry on telling these stories because we were eye-witnesses.  The most important thing is to tell people so this can never happen again.’

No type of commemoration or event to mark HMD 2011 is right or wrong or too big or too small, and it need not cost a large amount.  The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust provides free resources and advice for event organisers on their website.  They also supply free Campaign Packs which are an essential starting point for anyone thinking of organising an event for HMD 2011.

You can contact Terry at the HMDT office for further information and advice – call 0845 838 1883 or email