Rochdale Multi-Faith Partnership release short film to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day

Date published: 27 January 2021

Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on 27 January each year and Rochdale borough holds an annual commemoration, hosted in a different part of the borough each year in rotation – Heywood, Middleton, Littleborough and Rochdale.

This year, the commemoration was due to take place in Rochdale, however due to Covid-19 it was not possible to hold a public event.

As an alternative, the Borough of Rochdale Multi-Faith Partnership, supported by Rochdale Safer Communities Partnership, has produced a digital film to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and other genocides past and present. It also aims to raise awareness that the threat and potential for genocide taking place somewhere in the world is an ever-present reality. 

January 27 was chosen for Holocaust Memorial Day because it is the anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest and one of many concentration and death camps set up by the Nazis in Germany and across Europe during World War Two.

Robin Parker of the Borough of Rochdale Multi-Faith Partnership said: “The Multi-Faith Partnership has noted that since its involvement in organising the event since 2013, the list of places where acts of suppression and violence aimed at specific groups of people and their culture has grown. 

“Learning from the past about how a civilised society might find itself on an accelerating path, towards the attempted annihilation of targeted groups of people; by not addressing racism, xenophobia, and identity-based hatred in its midst, is as relevant today as it was in the early part of the twentieth century.    

“The film, which takes its title from this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day theme ‘Be the light in the darkness’ has contributions from senior members of Rochdale Council; the Mayor of Rochdale Borough, Councillor Billy Sheerin; Tony Lloyd MP; Adam Rennie, Member of Youth Parliament for Rochdale; Rabbi Warren Elf and members of the community.

“The film brings our attention to the Holocaust and other genocides, including Holodomor (death by forced starvation) in Ukraine; genocides in Cambodia; Rwanda; Bosnia and Darfur. It also acknowledges the plight of the Rohingya people who recently had to flee violence and brutality in Myanmar and brings attention to the current reported human rights issues faced by Uighur and Kazakh Muslims in Xinjiang province.”

The 29-minute film can be viewed on YouTube:  

Faith, civic and political leaders from Greater Manchester and across the country joined a virtual service today (27 January) to remember the victims of the Holocaust and other genocides, and to hear the vital testimony of those whose lives have been affected by these atrocities.

The service, broadcast live to residents through Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, heard from speakers including Holocaust survivor Tomi Komoly and Rehma Muguyeneza, survivor of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, as candles of remembrance were lit.

Tomi Komoly, a Holocaust survivor originally from Hungary, said: “This is 76 years after the liberation of the concentration camps, and unfortunately people’s memories are already fading.

“There is a fresh awakening of Holocaust denial and the downplaying of its importance as an unprecedented and premeditated industrial scale murder. I want to play my part in reminding people of the significance of the day.”

Students at Wardle Academy also marked the solemn occasion this month by hearing the testimony of Tomi Komoly in a special online session.

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