Houses of Parliament, London Eye and Wembley Stadium to light up for HMD
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Houses of Parliament, London Eye and Wembley Stadium to light up for HMD

More than 25 iconic British landmarks will be bathed in purple light in memory of six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust

Houses of Parliament (Photo by Michael D Beckwith on Unsplash)
Houses of Parliament (Photo by Michael D Beckwith on Unsplash)

The Houses of Parliament, Wembley Stadium and the London Eye are among iconic British landmarks which will be lit up in purple on 27 January as the world marks Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD).

At 8pm, the nation will pause for a moment of reflection by lighting a candle in their homes, while sites across the United Kingdom will display a message of remembrance for victims of the Shoah.

The initiative, based on this year’s theme of Be The Light In The Darkness, includes more than 25 locations across the United Kingdom, such as Blackpool Tower, the Imperial War Museums, Canterbury Cathedral and Durham Castle, as well as billboards.

This year’s HMD theme was decided 18 months ago before the global pandemic, which has seen disruption in all areas of life – including Holocaust education and survivor testimony – which has been moved into the virtual world.

Speaking ahead of HMD, Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust said: “As with everything else, we’ve had to change how we mark Holocaust Memorial Day this year. Our priority was to keep contributors, especially Holocaust survivors, safe.

“We are so grateful to everyone who made HMD happen this year: the government, celebrity readers, landmarks and billboards that lit up in purple – and to people across the UK who put candles in their windows. It has enabled everyone – despite the pandemic – to learn from genocide for a better future’.” 

London Eye (Photo by Jack B on Unsplash)

A virtual ceremony will be presented by the BBC’s Naga Munchetty, also featuring Premier League stars giving a message of unity against racism. 

It will include contributions from Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, and Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, as-well-as celebrity readers such as Bear Grylls, Rob Rinder and Tobias Menzies.

HMD’s patron, HRH The Prince of Wales, reflected on this year’s theme, saying: “As I speak, the last generation of living witnesses is tragically passing from this world, so the task of bearing witness falls to us.  That is why The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, of which I am so proud to be Patron, has this year chosen the theme – Be the Light in the Darkness.

“This is not a task for one time only; nor is it a task for one generation, or one person.  It is for all people, all generations, and all time.  This is our time when we can, each in our own way, be the light that ensures the darkness can never return.”

Holocaust Memorial Day (January 27) marks the genocide of millions of Jews and other minorities during the Second World War at the hands of the Nazis, although lockdown measures mean this year’s memorial ceremony will be streamed online only.

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