This Year’s Theme for Marking Holocaust Memorial Day

Jan 30, 05:34 PM

Eva Clarke and Michael Rosen introduce this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day theme ‘Torn from Home’. Home is a place you should feel safe in. Home is past. Home is present. Home is future. Home is a sense of well-being. Home is peace. Home is community and family and friends. There are many reasons people find themselves in a situation where they don’t have a home. Today we will consider what home means and what life is like for those who have been torn from home.

EVA CLARKE: Why we should remember? These are my reasons: 1. To commemorate, to remember – ‘to keep the memory alive’ of all those millions who died, were killed (perished) during the Holocaust, especially all those & we don’t know the numbers, who have never ever had one single person remember them, because all their families were killed & their communities destroyed. And the only way people live on is through our remembering of them. 2. To tell just one family’s story. As many as there are survivors & their numbers are dwindling, so there are that many different stories/experiences & despite sometimes having common elements, they are all unique. 3. To enable us all to learn the lessons of the Holocaust. But just think of all the genocides since: Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur, (Syria, Myanmar?) & so it goes on. Tragically, not never again, but yet again (your phrase, Helen!) 4. The next reason is linked to the previous one: to try to counteract racism & prejudice, any form of racism & prejudice in order to try to prevent such genocides from happening again. 5. Education is the key to combatting hatred & intolerance & to alert young people about where prejudice & hostility can ultimately lead - genocide.

EVA INTRODUCES Michael Rosen, writer and broadcaster, professor and poet and former Children’s Laureate, is known to many of us as the author of famous poems such as ‘Bear Hunt’ and ‘Chocolate Cake’, but today he is continuing his work we’ve been doing in Cambridge schools, to share our stories and our feelings regarding what we’ve found out about our families and their experiences in the Holocaust. Michael, may I ask you to say a few words about the theme for this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day ‘Torn from Home’ and your new poem ‘What Home Means To me? 

MICHAEL ROSEN: Each year for Holocaust Memorial Day a theme is chosen in order to learn about the Holocaust and subsequent genocides, with the life stories of those who were murdered and those who survived at its heart – as well as the experiences of resisters, rescuers and witnesses. This year our theme is ‘TORN FROM HOME’ and we’ve been encouraging the young people we’ve been working with in schools in Cambridge to reflect on how the enforced loss of a safe place to call HOME is part of the trauma faced by anyone experiencing persecution and genocide, forced to be a refugee, homeless… HOME usually means a place of safety, comfort and security. Home is community and family and friends. There are many reasons why people find themselves in a situation where they don’t have a home. I’ve written a piece which Helen asked me to write as a lyric for primary schools to sing, to help children think about what to value about home, what makes us feel safe: ‘I love the place I call my home I love it in the heart of my home I love it in the home of my heart Home is deep inside of me’