27 January 2021 “Be The Light In The Darkness”

Holocaust Memorial Day 2021 is Wednesday 27 January, the day for everyone to remember the millions of people murdered in the Holocaust under Nazi persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Dafur. On this day we would normally be gathered at The Milton Keynes Rose to honour survivors of these regimes and challenge ourselves to use the lessons of their experiences to inform our lives today.

This year’s theme ‘Be the Light in the Darkness’, is a quotation from Holocaust survivor, Gena Turgel a great friend of Milton Keynes where she visited the Sir Herbert Leon Academy several times to talk about her experiences in Nazi concentration camps. In her memoirs, Gena says: ‘We will continue to do our bit for as long as we can, secure in the knowledge that others will continue to light a candle long after us’.

Gena’s sentiments are replicated in a new publication about the Holocaust from Living Archive MKEchoes and Reflections: Remembering the Holocaust in Milton Keynes, a collection of memories and insights from nine contributors who have worked or lived in MK during the last 50 years. Despite the restrictions imposed by Covid 19, they have delivered crafted responses in writing – some personal, some harrowing, but all thought-provoking. 

The editor of the collection is Marion Hill DL she says: ‘For me, these nine contributors represent the nine candles depicted on the cover of the bookas our ‘light in the darkness’. It is a powerful statement to the modern world that not only must we not forget; we must do more – to prevent any genocide.’ The collection can be viewed online here.

Mayor of Milton Keynes Councillor Andrew Geary said, ‘The Holocaust is a deeply uncomfortable but very significant part of our history. But these uncomfortable and deeply moving parts of history must never, ever be erased from our minds or memories. For it is as we remember the past that we also shape the future. The Genocide and atrocities of the Holocaust are no exception to this rule; indeed, they are exemplars of it. We may not be able to remember today in the normal way but instead I urge you to simply light a candle at home, to remember those who still to this day mourn the loss of generations past of their families and in silent contemplation consider our response to their loss’.

This year it will not be possible to hold a Holocaust Memorial event at the Milton Keynes Rose in Campbell Park, as usual, because of Covid-19 restrictions, but a short talk by Paul Salver, formerly a teacher at Sir Herbert Leon Academy, and a poem for the occasion by Mark Niel, can be seen below.

Video Message from Paul Salver for HMD 2021