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Holocaust Memorial Day

Lit candles on ground with purple tapestry

What is Holocaust Memorial Day?

Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) is a time to remember the millions of people murdered during the Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution and in the genocides which followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur and elsewhere.

The aims of HMD are laid out in the statement of commitment created on 27 January 2000, when representatives from 46 governments around the world met in Stockholm to discuss Holocaust education, remembrance and research. 

Why mark it?

Holocaust Memorial Day is a time when we seek to learn the lessons of the past and recognise that genocide does not just take place on its own - it’s a steady process which can begin if discrimination, racism and hatred are not checked and prevented. We are fortunate here in the UK, as we are not at immediate risk of genocide. However, discrimination has not ended, nor has the use of the language of hatred or exclusion. There is still much to be done to create a safer future; and HMD is an opportunity to start this process.

Each year, thousands of activities take place for HMD, bringing people from all backgrounds together to learn lessons from the past in creative, reflective and inspiring ways. From schools to libraries, workplaces to local authorities, HMD activities offer a real opportunity to honour the experiences of people affected by the Holocaust and genocide, and challenge ourselves to work for a safer, better future.

Durham University castle with purple lights on

Holocaust Memorial Day Programme 2024

There will be several events taking place across Durham University and the wider community to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day, which will be free to attend. Please see information below:

26 January (2pm): HMD Talk and Remembrance Event at Stephenson College


Stephenson College, DU Jewish Society and DU Chaplaincy Network welcomes all members of the DU community to our Holocaust Memorial Day Remembrance Event on Friday 26 January 2024 from 14.00 – 15.30 at Stephenson College. Dr. Bea Lewkowicz from the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) will explore three Holocaust survivors' testimonies, including her mother’s, in the context of the fragility of freedom, before we #LightTheDarkness at a simple candle-lighting ceremony. We will read a poem and hold a minute's silence. You are welcome to attend for all or part of the event. 


The Association of Jewish Refugees provides social and welfare services to Holocaust refugees and survivors nationwide. About 70,000 refugees, including approximately 10,000 children on the Kindertransport, arrived in Great Britain from Nazi-occupied Europe in the 1930s. Founded in 1941 by Jewish refugees from Central Europe, the AJR today extends membership to anyone who fled a Nazi-occupied country as a Jewish refugee or who arrived in Great Britain as a Holocaust survivor. Relatives are also welcome as members.


If you would like to attend the event, please complete the form here: Pre-registration is required. If you have any questions, please contact Katie Stobbs, Vice-Principal of Stephenson College on  

26 January: HMD Commemorative Event (Durham County Council and Durham Cathedral)


TV personality Robert Rinder MBE will be leading Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations in County Durham this year. Robert will attend a commemorative event alongside Bernie Graham and Charlotte Lane. Rob and Bernie were part of the award-winning documentary series My Family, the Holocaust and Me, which helped British Jewish families trace the stories of their family, to understand their experiences of the Holocaust. Charlotte is one of the leaders of the UK wide- school project ‘ The Holocaust, Their Family, Me and Us’, derived from the documentary series. The aim is to provide young people with an opportunity to reflect on the legacies of the Holocaust, through sharing their family history.

Book free tickets for Holocaust Memorial Day 2024.

27 January, 6:30 pm, Castle (location will be shared on arrival): HMD 2024 Ceremony ‘Fragility of Freedom’

This memorial day service is organised with Durham JSoc.

The Theme of the Holocaust Memorial Day this year is ‘fragility of freedom’. During this service, you will hear the stories of people whose freedom was gradually restricted, removed, and who were often murdered, as part of the six million Jews murdered in that genocide, including one million and a half children, alongside other people (people with disabilities, Roma and Gypsies, artists, homosexuals, political objectors, or others considered ‘asocial’, etc.) whom we also remember.

The erosion of freedom is a gradual process. As outlined in the ten stages of genocide, genocide never just happens: ‘at the earliest stages there are opportunities to halt progression and stop genocide before it happens. It is vital that we stay vigilant and call out identity-based persecution of all kinds before it escalates.’

Never forget. Never again. Read more on this year’s HMD theme: Please register using this form.


The Holocaust on Film: film screenings at the Tyneside Cinema in January


A film season at the Tyneside Cinema to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2024 explores a series of landmark films in Holocaust representation. This includes: a double bill of Night and Fog (1955) and Three Minutes - A Lengthening (2021); Son of Saul (2025); and Jonathan Glazer’s critically acclaimed new film The Zone of Interest (2024). Limited free tickets are available to our staff and students. Visit the registration pageThis is presented in partnership with the Centre for Jewish Culture, Society and Politics and the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. For more details, please email

22 January to 02 February: Porrajmos Exhibition (St. Aidan's College, Durham University)


St. Aidan's College is hosting the Porrajmos Exhibition, which features the largely unknown story of the persecution and deaths Roma and Sinti Gypsies during the Second World War.

Between 1934 and 1945, it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of Roma and Sinti Gypsies were murdered (by genocide) throughout the Holocaust. This exhibition provides examples of some personal stories of the lives of those who were affected and is used as a learning resource to raise awareness of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) history. The Porrajmos Exhibition was produced by the Safer Communities Service, Durham County Council. The exhibition is free and open to all.  



Holocaust Memorial Day Trust 

The UK Online Commemoration for Holocaust Memorial Day 2024 will be streamed on the Trust's website on Saturday 27 January at 8pm. Anyone can register to watch the commemoration via this page.

Student Blog on Holocaust Memorial Day

Last year, Floren Kay, Outreach Officer of the DU Jewish Society (2023) wrote about HMD and her reflections on its significance. Read her insightful piece here.

The Holocaust: remembering the powerful acts of ‘ordinary people’

In this powerful piece published at The Conversation, Daniel Adamson, a PhD student in our History Department, delved into the Holocaust Memorial Day theme in 2023, 'ordinary people'.