The Holocaust

On 27 January 1945, a group of Red Army soldiers stepped into a camp. At first, the buildings seemed silent and abandoned – then, suddenly, hundreds of people began to appear.

“They rushed toward us shouting, fell on their knees, kissed the flaps of our overcoats, and threw their arms around our legs,” one soldier later remembered. After five years of terror, the concentration camp at Auschwitz was finally liberated.

Every year, on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, people around the world mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

The Holocaust took place between 1933 and 1945. During that time, over six million Jews were murdered by Nazi forces in an attempt to exterminate all Jewish people. Thousands more were killed for their race, religion, sexuality, and political beliefs.

Holocaust Memorial Day is an opportunity to remember those killed in the Holocaust and to stand together against genocides around the world. This year’s theme, “Be the light in the darkness”, reacts to reports of growing hatred around the world.

In December 2018, a survey found that 89% of Jews living in 12 European countries thought anti-Semitism had increased in the last decade.

How can you raise awareness this week?

Read Our Stories

Assembly

Two-thirds of the world’s population believe that the Holocaust has been described inaccurately. This disbelief is a form of denial. Listen to Deborah E Lipstadt explaining the reasons for Holocaust denial.

Activities

  1. Last year, people created memorial flames to mark 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz. Make your own flame celebrating this year’s theme, “Be a light in the darkness”. Use these examples as inspiration.
  2. Watch this video tour of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Create a design for a Holocaust Memorial in your school to educate others about the Holocaust.
  3. Explore some of the life stories of the victims of the Holocaust. Choose one person and write a short biography of their life.