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Cambridge City Council

Cambridge to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day with candle-lighting event at Guildhall on 26 January

24 January 2023

ON THURSDAY 26 January, on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day, Cambridge City Council will host a short ceremony of readings and candle-lighting from 5pm to 5.20pm.

Holocaust Memorial Day is held on 27 January each year on the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. The annual event commemorates the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, alongside the millions of other people killed under Nazi persecution of other groups, and during more recent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

Led by Professor Helen Weinstein from HistoryWorks, and joined by Holocaust Survivor Eva Clarke and Mayor of Cambridge, Cllr Mark Ashton, the council event will take place on the steps of the Guildhall on the Market Square and is open to all.

Later on 26 January, a national commemorative event is taking place online, hosted by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, from 7pm to 8pm. The event is open to all, and you can register to watch the event online.

On Holocaust Memorial Day itself, Friday 27 January, people across the country are being encouraged to light a candle and display it in their own homes at dusk, sharing photos of the candles on social media using #LightTheDarkness and #HolocaustMemorialDay.

As in previous years, the council has commissioned Helen Weinstein from HistoryWorks to run a Holocaust Memorial Day education and arts programme with local schools and community groups, supported by author Michael Rosen and composer Andrea Cockerton. Many of the Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 pupils involved in this programme are taking part in school assemblies to mark Holocaust Memorial Day this January.

Later in the year, a public concert is planned for June, to tie the themes of Holocaust Memorial Day and Refugee Week together in a civic event which is free to attend, and open to all. Taking place at the Corn Exchange on Sunday 25 June, from 4pm to 5.30pm, the concert will feature new poetry and song lyrics written by Michael Rosen and set to music by composer Andrea Cockerton.

The event will involve Cambridge school pupils, community groups and choirs, with performances including readings, poetry, dance and drama. Some filmed artworks and exhibitions will be on display in the foyer, inspired and interspersed by moving words from refugee experiences and genocide survivor testimonies. More information about how to register will be publicised on the council website nearer the time.

Cllr Mairéad Healy, Executive Councillor for Equalities, Anti-Poverty and Wellbeing, said: “Each year I’m impressed by the work that goes on in our schools and community groups as they learn about our history, and respond in such creative ways, helping us all to remember the horrific events of the past.

“We must never forget what humankind is capable of, and must ensure it doesn’t happen again. Please join us on the day if you can, or join in by sharing a photo on social media to show your support.”