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Holocaust Memorial Day in Newcastle

Welcome to Newcastle’s Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) programme. HMD takes place on 27 January each year, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

    HMD logo


    The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) in 2020, chosen by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, is 'Stand Together'. 

    It encourages us to explore how genocidal regimes throughout history have deliberately fractured societies by marginalising certain groups, and how these tactics can be challenged by individuals standing together with their neighbours, and speaking out against oppression.

    HMD 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz – this is a significant milestone and is made particularly poignant by the dwindling number of survivors who are able to share their testimony. It also marks the 25th anniversary of the Genocide in Bosnia. 

    We want to continue to support local groups/organisations and schools in their creative responses to this theme by offering grants of up to £2,000 to allow them to contribute to the HMD programme in Newcastle in 2020. 

    The deadline for applications is 5.00pm on Friday 28 June 2019. Please contact Alison Flanagan-Wood on 0191 2782958 if you have any further questions. 

    2019 Programme 

    The theme for HMD in 2019, chosen by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, was ‘Torn from Home'.

    HMD takes place on 27th January each year and is a time to remember the millions of people persecuted and murdered during the Holocaust and in the genocides, which followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. 2019 is the 25th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda, which began in April 1994, and the 40th anniversary of the genocide in Cambodia.

    The theme for HMD 2019, chosen by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, was Torn from Home, it encouraged us to reflect on the meaning of “home”.

    For most of us home means a place of safety, comfort and security, but even today there are many forced to flee their homes to escape persecution, war or violence because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a social group. The theme allows for reflection on how we can support people escaping persecution, who may wish to make a new home in our communities and how we can use the lessons of the past to ensure that we work together to create a safer, better future.

    Last year's HMD programme in Newcastle used a variety of visual arts, film, performance, poetry and music events to help us consider what “home” means to us. It encouraged us all to reflect on what happens when individuals, families and communities are driven out of, or wrenched from, their homes and the difficulties they face as they try to find or build new homes when the genocide is over.

    Working closely with our community and voluntary sector partners across the city who have contributed to this programme, we hope that you, the audience, will be engaged, enlightened and enriched by this creative and sensitive response to being Torn from Home.

    Best wishes

    Cllr Joyce McCarty

    Download the full programme here. (pdf, 18,495kb)

    Read the full review of Holocaust Memorial Day 2019 here. 


    Friday 25 January - 7 February 2019
    Exhibition: Anne Frank: A History for Today from the Anne Frank Trust UK with 
    Postcards from your new home - artwork by local school pupils 
    City Library

    By placing the complex historical events of the Holocaust against the backdrop of the life of one inspirational young person, A History for Today enables visitors to grasp the human consequences of persecution and war. It challenges us to think about how these issues are relevant today and what we can all do to prevent prejudice and discrimination. 
    After learning about the experiences of both historic and contemporary refugees, pupils have created postcards to welcome asylum seekers and refugees in Newcastle to their new home. 

    Monday 4 February – Thursday 14 February

    Exhibition: World Jewish Relief
    City Library

    World Jewish Relief, PhD researchers and Professor Bill Niven have created an exhibition about the work of the Central British Fund and how World Jewish Relief is using memories of the Holocaust, especially of the Kindertransports, when responding to new crises. The exhibition argues that this memory should not be limited in scope rather it should challenge us to rethink Britain’s narrative of the Holocaust.

    These exhibitions are FREE and are open to the public each day during library opening.


    Wednesday 30 January
    Site Specific Performance: Peace Process-ion2
    Skimstone Arts

    12-3pm (repeated x 20 minute performances)
    City Library

    5-6.30pm (repeated x 20 minute performances)
    Civic Centre

    Skimstone Arts presents Peace Process-ion2, a site specific 20-minute repeated performance that responds to collected stories, including those from children of Holocaust survivors, Bosnian, Syrian and Roma refugee communities about being ‘Torn from Home.’

    The performance responds to themes of human acts of kindness, bravery, resilience in times of human madness, finding identities, connections and hope in a new land and place. Using live music, soundtracks, theatre and procession, Peace Process-ion2 invites anyone to stop and look, reflect, or even choose to join the procession. Skimstone Arts would like to give their deepest thanks to all those who shared such powerful stories including; Smajo Beso, Balsam Ahmed, Marta Josephs, Ella and Esther and to our diverse cast, which enabled us to create this work.

    Thursday 24 January, 5pm
    Lecture: Jewish constructions of "home" and "exile" before and after the Holocaust
    Ian Biddle (Newcastle University)
    Bewick Hall, Newcastle City Library

    This lecture explores some of the key teachings of Jewish thought on the concept of exile, and how these teachings impacted on Jewish survivors of the Holocaust in their search for a new life in its immediate aftermath. The lecture examines visual art, music and poetry from 1945 -1960 and shows how Jewish survivors sought to piece together a new flexible understanding of home.

    Dr Biddle is a specialist on music and culture in Central and Eastern Europe and teaches Music and Yiddish culture at Newcastle University.

    Places are FREE but advance booking is advised.​ Book free online.

    This is just a selection of events across the city - please see the HMD programme for more information on all events.


    Interview with Holocaust Survivor Sandor Vandor interviewed by Hannah Wilson from Nottingham University.

    In 1944, Nazi Germany occupied Hungary. Sandor was 19 years old. He was a Hungarian Jew. Seven decades later, Sandor was asked 'How Can Life Go On?'

    View the highlights with subtitles


    View the full interview with subtitles


    Recommended reads

    Further reading and resources available.

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