Saturday, the 27th January, marks the annual International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, as designated by the United Nations (UN).
It’s a day to commemorate and remember the Holocaust, and reflect on the 6 million Jewish people killed, as well as the persecution and deaths of Roma, LGBT and disabled people.
World leaders and survivors speak out around the Holocaust, its aftermath and why it should never be forgotten.
Much emphasis is put on the need for future generations to learn about the Holocaust and for the world to work towards preventing genocide. This year the theme is “Holocaust Remembrance and Education: Our Shared Responsibility”.
In Britain, the 11th of November is the day most synonymous with Remembrance, however, Remembrance is something that takes place all year round.
There are many different reference points, such as the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, which give people a chance to reflect on the horrors and lessons of previous conflicts and historical events, and the importance of remembering them.
Britain as a nation has strong links to the international Jewish community and has a growing one within it too. It was also British soldiers that liberated the infamous Bergen-Belson concentration camp in Nazi Germany, in 1945.
The Royal British Legion in its role as National Custodian of Remembrance exists to ensure that the memory and sacrifice from the First World War to present day conflicts are not forgotten.
Today the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, which is part of The Royal British Legion, will hold a Holocaust Memorial Day chapel service to mark the day.
We are proud of our partnership with a range of Jewish community organisations across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and we remember the 41,000 British Jews who fought in World War One, and the 65,000 who fought in World War Two.
We work closely with Jewish Veteran Associations like The Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women to raise awareness that the percentage of Jewish men and women killed on active service during the two wars was the highest of any ethnic group, and of the Jewish soldiers who were recognised for their bravery, including eight Victoria Cross recipients.
Every year the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women join 10,000 other veterans at the Legion’s March Past the Cenotaph on the 11th November, in Whitehall.
As WW2 fades from living memory, the challenge that faces Remembrance as a whole, not just the Legion, is maintaining the events in modern consciousness and making them relevant to younger audiences. This is a challenge we cannot take on our own, however. It is therefore that I urge business leaders to not only reflect on the Holocaust today, but to think about how you can leverage your company’s history, resources and communities to help keep the torch of Remembrance alive and ensure it is passed on to the next generation in good stead.
Just like the theme of the Annual International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust states – Remembrance is a shared responsibility.