On Friday 27th January, Gibraltar and the rest of the world observes International Holocaust Memorial Day. This is a day where we unite to remember and also learn about the Holocaust and genocides that have occurred around the world in the past, in Nazi Germany and its occupied territories and also more recently in Bosnia, Darfur, Cambodia, Myanmar and Rwanda.
This year, the chosen theme by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust is “Ordinary People”. Genocide is ultimately enabled by ordinary people. It is ordinary people who also turn a blind eye and then believe propaganda and discriminate. Ordinary people join regimes that commit murder under their regime’s guise. People who are persecuted, oppressed and murdered in genocides are persecuted just because they are “different” ordinary people who belong to a different particular group.
Every 27th January, HM Government of Gibraltar, together with dignitaries and a cross section of the community have stood together at Commonwealth Park, united against antisemitism and discrimination. This year, after a one minute silence, the Chief Minister will light a candle outside No 6 Convent Place at 5:00pm. He will be joined by His Excellency the Governor, the Deputy Chief Minister, the Minister for Equality, the President of the Jewish Community and other dignitaries. It is also encouraged that people light a candle as a mark of remembrance at 5.00pm on the 27th January.
On the 7th December 2017 a presentation titled ‘Learning From Auschwitz’ was delivered by Mr. Arek Hersh, a Holocaust Survivor and Mr Mike Levy, a Holocaust Education Advisor in Gibraltar. A video recording was taken of this presentation and is available to view with subtitles on the Ministry of Equality website: www.gibraltar.gov.gi/department-equality or from the YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqV6hKmsk18&t=1220s.
The Minister for Equality, the Hon Samantha Sacramento MP, said: “It is very important for us to commemorate International Holocaust Memorial Day and we must not forget what ordinary people are capable of doing. We must not allow prejudices and feelings of hate to take over us and make a point of highlighting this when it happens in order to stop it from the outset. Ordinary people, such as ourselves, can play a bigger part than we can even imagine in challenging prejudice and discrimination when we see it developing.”