Stand Together

Date Published: 17 January 2020

'Don't be content in your life just to do no wrong, be prepared every day to try and do some good.'  The message from Sir Nicholas Winton, who in 1939 rescued 669 Jewish children from Nazi-occupied Europe by securing them a safe passage to England, still rings true today.

Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January 2020 will mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the largest Nazi camp. It will also mark the 25th anniversary of the genocide in Bosnia. Both anniversaries will serve as a timely opportunity to reflect, learn and commemorate. This year the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day is Stand Together to ensure identity based division does not happen again.  

History shows that marginalisation of certain groups, and subsequently fracturing the whole societies, can lead to tragedy. In the years leading up to the Holocaust, Nazi policies and propaganda deliberately encouraged divisions within German society by urging 'Aryan' Germans to keep themselves separate from their Jewish neighbours (HMD Trust).  

In Bosnia in 1991, non-Serbs were forced to wear white armbands and fly white flags outside their houses for identification. The massacre on 13th July 1995 when over 8,000 Bosniak men and boys from Srebrnica were murdered, marked this genocide the largest occurrence of mass-murder in Europe since World War Two, according to figures from the  HMD Trust.

We cannot forget about how these genocides happened, as well as we need to remember those who often lost their lives helping others to survive. People like Sir Nicholas Winton and the Veselis family , who chose to stand against the language of hate.

Aberdeenshire Council is marking Holocaust Memorial Day by holding a commemoration event on Monday, 27th January at 2pm, Committee Room 5, Woodhill House, Aberdeen. The programme includes two students from Mearns Academy talking about their experience of taking the trip to Auschwitz, a video of Bosnian survivor and a short discussion/reflection on the Stand Together theme. 

We are also looking for staff members who would like to share their personal or family experience relating to holocaust on the day.  Please contact Magdalena Bereza at Magdalena.bereza@aberdeenshire.gov.uk. A Skype option is also available for those unable to attend in person. Please email at Magdalena.bereza@aberdeenshire.gov.uk for an invite.

The Holocaust Memorial Day will be marked by local libraries across Aberdeenshire with a display of Holocaust related books.  Videos on the Holocaust and accounts of Bosnia genocide survivor will also be screened and shared on social media.