Housing association supports Holocaust Memorial Day

Photo caption: A presentation at last year’s Holocaust Memorial Day.

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Worcestershire’s largest social landlord will mark Holocaust Memorial Day early next year by supporting an event to commemorate it.

Representatives from Fortis Living – part of Platform Housing Group which provides more than 45,000 homes from Herefordshire in the West to the Lincolnshire coast in the East, and from the Derbyshire Dales in the North to the Cotswolds in the South – will attend an event in Worcester’s Guildhall on Saturday 26 January at 10.30am that aims to raise awareness of conditions that lead to community division.

Holocaust Memorial Day is marked each year; each year a different theme is used to highlight the importance of the effect of past genocides on society today. Next year’s 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.

Tom Piotrowski, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor at Fortis Living explained: “Holocaust Memorial Day is not only about remembering the past, but also about making sure that such horrors never reoccur and that prejudice, bigotry and hatred have no place in modern society.

“As a housing association, we want to encourage our communities to live peacefully with each other in an environment of help, support and encouragement.”

This year, the theme is ‘Torn from Home’, which encourages audiences 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. Holocaust Memorial Day 2019 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.

This year’s event will be marked locally by a commemoration ceremony and official addresses from the Mayor of Worcester and other community and religious leaders. The event is being organised by Worcestershire Interfaith Forum with support from Fortis Living and the Mayor’s Office. It will include marking the 25th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda, which began in April 1994, with students from local schools taking part.

Yvonne Stollard, Chairwoman of the Worcestershire Interfaith Forum said: “Holocaust Memorial Day is a time when we seek to learn the lessons of the past, a past within living memory. The failure to challenge and prevent discrimination, racism and hatred can lead to genocide. We must not be complacent. Here in the UK, there has been an increase in discrimination, racism and hatred, and here in Worcester recently, we were targeted by those who seek to spread their hate and divide us. We need to learn those lessons and work together to create a safer future for our whole community.”

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust – or HMDT – is the charity that promotes and supports Holocaust Memorial Day. 27 January is the day set aside to remember the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust and the millions of people killed in Nazi persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. 27 January marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.

Admission is free on the day.

For further information please contact Tom Piotrowski, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor on 01905 670104.