03 February 2022, The Tablet

Churches mark Holocaust Memorial Day 

Churches mark Holocaust Memorial Day 

Holocaust Trust Memorial meeting at Brentwood County High School.
Ian Davidson/Alamy

The Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales were among thousands of people worldwide who marked Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January. They said: “It is a time to remember the millions of people murdered during the Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution and in the genocides which followed including Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur,” adding that “we learn more about the past, we empathise with others today, and we take action for a better future.”

The conference website offered an interview with holocaust survivor, 97-year-old Stella Zylbersztajn-Tzur. Also, resources for Churches produced by the Council of Christians and Jews on the themes of memory, dignity and justice, offering information, as well as poetry, psalms, prayers, and a Scriptural reflection. There was also a message from Bishop Declan Lang, chair of the Bishops’ International Affairs department, plus an album of photos of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp in Poland. 

The chair of the bishops’ committee for Catholic-Jewish relations, Archbishop Kevin McDonald, spoke to Vatican News about the day, stressing the importance of dialogue and education in combatting all forms of anti-Semitism.  

The Iona Community held a Holocaust Memorial Day Vigil in Iona Community that was live-streamed for maximum participation. Organised in partnership with Interfaith Scotland, there were  reflections and prayers, with music from island musicians and contributions from people of various religious traditions.

The Anglican church of St Michael’s, Wood Green, was amongst parish communities holding a holy hour vigil “in remembrance of holocaust victims, survivors and subsequent atrocities”. Catholic Schools running remembrance events and exhibitions included St Michael’s in Bury, St Norbert’s in Spalding, St Joseph’s in Luton and St Joseph’s in Linlithgow. Many homes placed candles of remembrance in their windows.

In Swansea, faith communities produced a video, “We remember them”, and the Swansea Guildhall was one of more than 80 buildings throughout the UK lit up in purple as a mark of respect to all who suffered in the Holocaust.

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