Holocaust Memorial Day
The second world war. Between 1941 and 1945. The Nazis are attempting to wipe out all of Europe’s Jews. In March 1944, Hinda Cohen’s parents came back from work. Arriving to the concentration camp where they were being held they found a tiny shoe and a pair of mittens. There was nothing they could do. Their child had been taken and killed in the gas chambers of the largest Nazi death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Hinda, who was from Lithuania, was only one of six million who were murdered in the worst crime in human history; the Holocaust.
Each year, Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on January 27th. That was the day in 1945 when soldiers freed the people trapped in Auschwitz.
The day is a chance to remember the people killed by the Nazis and to think how it is still relevant today. Since 1945, many more have died in genocides — where governments or fighters have killed vast numbers of innocent people because they were of a different nationality or ethnic group — in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. In Syria, an estimated 470,000 people have been killed.
This year, the Holocaust Memorial Trust’s theme is “The Power of Words”. Use the activities below to observe this day in your school.
Read Our Story
The Holocaust Memorial Day website has this this assembly, which is sensitively tailored to students aged 9-11. It looks at the holocaust and asks the question, “How can life go on?” This assembly pack is also tailored for years 5 and 6.
- Read an extract from Anne Frank’s diary. What makes her words so powerful?
- Look through these Nazi propaganda posters. What makes these words and images so powerful? What does this teach us about the power of images and words?
- Discuss the following quote with your class: “In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit.” — Anne Frank
- Write a letter to a Holocaust survivor. What questions would you have for them?