Monday 23 January 2023
Holocaust Memorial Day will be marked in Guernsey on the evening of Thursday 26th January with a commemorative gathering that remembers the victims of the Holocaust and other acts of genocide both in Guernsey and around the world and serves to ensure that its lessons are learned by future generations.
The gathering, led by the Very Reverend Tim Barker, will be held at 6pm in the Town Church, St Peter Port.
During the gathering, Molly Robinson will play Vocalise by Rachmaninov on the cello. Jonathon Vickers, Senior Prefect of Elizabeth College will be reading some poems that will help those present to reflect on the significance of Holocaust Memorial Day.
Wreaths will be dedicated and laid at the memorials on White Rock to the Jewish women, the Guernsey Eight and the foreign workers at 12 noon on Friday 27th January.
Holocaust Memorial Day is commemorated in the British Isles on 27th January. As that date is a Friday in 2023, the gathering will be on the Thursday evening so as not to conflict with the Shabbat (the weekly observance for Jews, which starts at sunset on Fridays).
The Very Reverend Tim Barker said:
'The annual observance of Holocaust Memorial Day is important for the whole community. In discussion with members of Guernsey's Jewish community and the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, we have established an annual sequence of commemoration that will include a public gathering at midday on White Rock on Tuesday 18th April, coinciding with the date in 2023 when Jewish people throughout the world keep Yom HaShoah, and the annual celebration of Guernsey's Liberation on Tuesday 9 May.'
The commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day and remembrance of Guernsey victims in the last two years focussed on Yom HaShoah in April due to Covid pandemic restrictions. This focus stimulated discussions around both education and commemoration on the island, including consideration of how Holocaust Memorial aligns locally with communities around the British Isles, and across Europe, on both 27th January and Yom HaShoah, a moving date that falls in either April or May each year in the Jewish calendar.
Those discussions also identified how well received the previous memorial service at Town Church had been, resulting in the gathering in the Town Church being organised again this year.
Subsequent support from the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust led to an initiative to consider additional education resources available from the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust to expand resources available for use in the local curriculum on dates in between Holocaust Memorial Day and Liberation Day in future years.
The Committee for Education, Sport & Culture and the Arts Commission have collaborated with the Guernsey Music Centre and Elizabeth College to produce a commemorative performance of poetry and music.
Tim Wright, Head of Guernsey Music Service, said:
'The Guernsey Music Service is yet again honoured to be included in the Holocaust Memorial Service.'
Molly Robinson will be performing Sergei Rachmaninoff's 'Vocalise', composed in 1915 before the composer fled persecution after the Russian Revolution of 1917. During his life, Rachmaninoff was a supporter of freedom and human rights. In 1912, he left the Imperial Russian Music Society when he learned that a musician in an administrative post was dismissed for being Jewish. He fled Russia at the end of 1917 and eventually settled in America.
The gathering is open to all islanders.