Bristol HMD challenges – How to keep the memory alive for Holocaust victims

Bristol-HMD Holocaust Memorial Day service

On Tuesday 27th January, I attended the Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) event at Bristol’s M-Shed. The Bristol HMD event saw a vibrant mixture of people from multi faith backgrounds united for a day of film, poetry, discussion, talks and reflection. A challenge was set out: How do we continue to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive, honour and commemorate those that lost their lives and work towards the prevention of genocide in the future?

For me, The Holocaust has always been an emotive issue and now in my mid 30s, it is a sad state of the world that I can look back on so many examples of ethnic cleansing, genocide and mass murder that have taken place long after the NAZI death camps were made known to the world. Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur – all in my lifetime. The Bristol HMD event created news coverage, multimedia interest and kept the flame of memory alive for those that could so easily be forgot, or worse, denied.

For someone with a marketing mind and ever-present interest in politics, it was a challenge I was keen to pick up. I was introduced to Valerie Russell Emmott and invited to join the Bristol HMD board to help maintain the website and donate one of the greatest commodities needed for such a challenge: Time.

Time is one of the greatest challenges to organisations such as the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. As time passes, fewer and fewer survivors of the NAZI death camps remain. This year saw the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auchwitz, Bergen Belsen and countless other horrific and barbaric concentration camps. With them we are saying goodbye to the liberators, British, French, American and Russian soldiers that forced back the German lines before they could hide the evidence of the atrocities against Jews, homosexuals, Black people, Asians, mentally disabled, physically disabled, those politically opposed to Hitler’s regime,prisoners of war and many others who had the misfortune to be born in the wrong place at the wrong time in history. Lest we forget.

New ideas for keeping the memory alive and support for Bristol HMD

So what can be done to help keep the memory alive? Why should we be considering this in Bristol, so far from the death camps and with such a small community directly living with the consequences and trauma of the Holocaust?

Put simply, because where there is humanity and good will towards mankind, there is a need to remember the worst that it can do. Keeping the memory alive is a tribute to those that lost their lives, and those who survived to face a lifetime of haunting memories.

Here in Bristol, there is a dedicated team of likeminded people keen to put on events, to provide education, artistic commemoration and protect awareness for future generations. There is a will to improve the organisation of events and generate information to ensure the continuation of education and awareness across the region. It is an exciting time to get involved with Bristol HMD and play a part in it’s development and ability to deliver on it’s goals.

Through events, creative education activities and social media, we can keep the memory alive. Through modern technology and social media platforms, we can share the thoughts, experiences and memories of those that lived through one of mankind’s darkest times and ensure that like fallen soldiers and those who fought for freedom, those that lost their lives before liberation from oppressors will never be forgotten.

For more information about Bristol Holocaust Memorial Day activities, please visit the website here.

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