Housing association supports Holocaust Memorial Day

Worcestershire’s largest social landlord will mark Holocaust Memorial Day later this month by supporting an event to commemorate it.

Representatives from Platform Housing Group will attend an event in Worcester’s Guildhall on Monday 27 January at 10.30am that aims to raise awareness of conditions that led to community division.

A group of employees and customers from the group are also due to visit the National Holocaust Centre and Museum later on this year to explore ways of connecting with this year’s theme.

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. This year’s theme is ‘Stand Together’.

Tom Piotrowski, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor at Platform Housing Group, said : “As a housing association, we stand firmly by our commitment to challenge hatred and intolerance in all forms. We understand that while our main focus is on providing homes, we also help build communities, promote dialogue and ensure people from different backgrounds get on with each other.”

Holocaust Memorial Day 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, as well as the 25th anniversary of the genocide in Bosnia. It will explore how genocidal regimes throughout history have deliberately fractured societies by marginalising certain groups, and how these tactics can be challenged by individuals standing together with their neighbours, and speaking out against oppression.

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 Platform Housing Group and Worcester City Council.

The ceremony will also welcome keynote speaker Mindu Hornick MBE; born in Czechoslovakia, as a young girl Mindu miraculously survived both the Auschwitz–Birkenau concentration camp and a slave labour facility during World War Two. She has spent the last two decades educating audiences – especially young people – about the dangers of intolerance and growing levels of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in the world.

Ms Hornick, aged 90, was recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours List earlier this month for her services to Holocaust education and commemoration; she works very closely with the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and Anne Frank’s Trust.

Yvonne Stollard, Chair of the Worcestershire Interfaith Forum, said: “The effect of the Holocaust is still felt today. With each passing year there are fewer people to give their first-hand testimonies. We are therefore honoured that Mindu accepted our invitation to speak on the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Sadly, there have been subsequent genocides. We need to be vigilant and learn the lessons of the past, particularly at a time when communities have become divided, and hate crime is on the rise. We must remember that the Holocaust did not begin with gas chambers, it began with words.”

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust – or HMDT – is the charity that promotes and supports Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD). 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.

Those interested in finding out about an event marking Holocaust Memorial Day in their area should visit www.hmd.org.uk.

The Mayor of Worcester, Councillor Allah Ditta, said: “On Holocaust Memorial Day, we will remember those who have lost their lives across the globe as a result of hatred and intolerance. It is also an opportunity to reflect on the actions which brought about that loss and to redouble our resolve to ensure this never happens again. I am very pleased to host this ceremony at Worcester Guildhall and encourage local people of all ages to attend.

Admission is free on the day.

For further information please contact Tom Piotrowski, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor on 01905 670 104 or email him at tom.piotrowski@platformhg.com.

Photo caption: Holocaust survivor Mindu Hornick MBE will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day in Worcester.