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York Minster’s commemoration for Holocaust Memorial Day 2021

26 Jan, 2021

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‘Be the light in the darkness’

York Minster will release a short video on 27 January, featuring the Star of David lit in candles on the floor of the cathedral’s ancient Chapter House to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

Filmed by Canon Maggie McLean, York Minster’s Canon Missioner, the un-narrated video focuses on the candlelight and the stillness of the Chapter House to explore the theme for this year’s events:  ‘Be the light in the darkness’ with written material taken from the resources provided by www.hmd.org.uk. The video is accompanied by a musical reflection composed and played by Benjamin Morris, Assistant Director of Music at York Minster.

York will mark the day with a special online event – the York Holocaust Memorial Day Civic Event. Presented by the York Holocaust Memorial Day Steering Group, the University of York and City of York Council and hosted by the Lord Mayor of York, Cllr Janet Looker and the Vice-Chancellor of the University of York Professor Charlie Jeffery, the free event will include talks and films reflecting on the forces that have triggered genocides and the courage of the individuals and communities that oppose and resist genocide past and present.

The speakers will include the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell and Student Rabbi Gabriel Kanter-Webber and there will be a keynote speech by author Ariana Neumann who will reflect on the memoir When Time Stopped, which describes her father’s extraordinary escape from Nazi-occupied Prague.

Commenting on the event, Archbishop Stephen said:

“I’m humbled and honoured to be part of this Holocaust memorial event.  In remembering these horrors and the millions of Jewish people – and others besides – who were slaughtered in the death camps of a wicked and godless regime, we commit ourselves, here in this city of sanctuary and in our nation, to building a world where these horrors are never repeated.

“We do this, first of all, by the very act of remembering: by looking – painful and distressing though it is – at the human capacity for evil, and the terrible ways we divide ourselves against one another, on grounds of nation, ethnicity and religion, and particularly the way throughout history that Jewish people have been stigmatised and persecuted.

“We also remember that each of those who died was a beloved mother, father, son, daughter – someone with whom we share a common humanity and with whom, for the sake of their memory and for the building of a better world of justice and inclusion, commit ourselves to change.”

The Holocaust Memorial Trust is also encouraging people to light a candle and place it safely in their windows at 8pm on Holocaust Memorial Day to remember everyone murdered in genocidal events and to stand against prejudice and hatred today.

York Minster’s short video for Holocaust Memorial Day will be available from Wednesday 27 January here.

The York Holocaust Memorial Day Civic Event Online will take place on Wednesday 27 January from 7pm to 8.15pm online. To book your ticket, please visit york.ac.uk/news-and-events/events/public-lectures.

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust’s social media campaign #LightTheDarkness and #HolocaustMemorialDay will run throughout 27 January.  For more information, visit hmd.org.uk. Twitter: @HMD_UK

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