Remembering the past on Holocaust Memorial Day

January 27th, 2023 9:00 AM

By Dylan Mangan

Six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust. (Photo: Everett Collection /

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TODAY marks Holocaust Memorial Day, when people around the world take stock and remember the millions of people who were murdered in the Holocaust, under Nazi persecution.

Archbishop John McDowell, the Church of Ireland's Primate of All Ireland, is asking people to take a moment to remember the horrors that occurred, especially in light of the fact that fewer and fewer survivors remain alive to this day.

'It's almost as if when those who suffered that terrible persecution have all passed away, we can almost pretend that it didn't happen. But it did happen, and it so easily could happen again.'

Shirley Lennon, from Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, said that the day is important not only to remember those that we murdered in genocides of the past, but to help prevent such events happening again.

'We want to try and encourage ordinary people to take part, just to think a little about what they can do, what actions they can take, to fight against racism and prejudice of any kind.'

January 27th is the anniversary of the liberation of the largest Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, by Soviet troops in 1945.

Over 1.1 million men, women and children lost their lives in Auschwitz, with millions more suffering under Nazi rule.

The theme of this year's Holocaust Memorial Day is 'Ordinary People' — chosen to remind us that genocide is something that is facilitated by normal people turning a blind eye, and suffered by normal people who aren't persecuted based on anything they have done, but based on the fact they are part of a particular group.

Shoes and boots of victims of the Holocaust at Auschwitz Birkenau concentration camp. (Photo: Shutterstock)


The Southern Star's editor, Siobhán Cronin, recently visited Auschwitz and said that we must always remember to stand up and fight against evil and hate speech, and never forget the past.

A recent In The News podcast also touches on these themes, as we went into some detail about a group based in West Cork who were founded by a convicted Holocaust denier.

A candlelit vigil in honour of the victims and survivors of the Holocaust will take place outside UCC's Student Centre from 6:30-7:30pm today, organised by UCC Jewish Society.

A memorial service will also take place in Dublin on Sunday, January 29th from 6pm - 8pm in the Lord Mayor's Mansion House. The commemoration will also be livestreamed on YouTube.

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