Millions of victims of the Nazis will be honoured on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz today at a central London ceremony attended by politicians, religious leaders and survivors.
The national commemorative event in Westminster will feature film and music while footage from a service attended by world leaders at the notorious camp will be played to the 1,000 guests.
Organised by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, the event will feature readings by high-profile figures Sir John Hurt, Michael Palin, Keeley Hawes, Sarah Lancashire and Natasha Kaplinsky, a member of the prime minister’s Holocaust Commission which has spent the past year investigating what more Britain can do to keep the memory of the Shoah alive for future generations.
Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of the Trust, said: “The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2015 is Keep the Memory Alive. It is vital that we all remember and reflect upon the horrors of the past, and honour those who survived. On Holocaust Memorial Day we remember for a purpose: we learn from the past and consider how we can help build a better future.”
Performers at the national event – which will be the subject of an hour-long programme presented by David Dimbleby on BBC2 at 7pm – will include cellist and conductor Simon Wallfisch, grandson of 89-year-old Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, a surviving member of the Women’s Orchestra in Auschwitz.
Memorial Day is expected to be over over 2,400 events across the UK at community centres, schools, libraries, museums, arts venues, prisons, railway stations and places of worship. The recommendations of Cameron’s Holocaust Commission will also be published during the Day.
Cathy Ashley, Chair of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, says: “By hearing, seeing and sharing these powerful stories and memories, we are challenged to confront all forms of hatred and discrimination wherever we see them.”