Holocaust Memorial Day will be marked with a series of services and presentations at Lichfield Cathedral.
January 27 – the day the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp was liberated during World War Two – is used each year to remember the six million Jewish people and other prisoners who died during the Nazi persecution.
The Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Rev Dr Michael Ipgrave, said Holocaust Memorial Day was an opportunity to remember the vulnerable nature of minority communities.
“It is very important for the church to remember the Holocaust and the horrific persecution of the Jewish people in the Second World War,” he said. “At a time when anti-Semitism lurks again in different guises, it is salutary to remember how many churches and Christian leaders failed to stand in solidarity with Jewish people at the time of the Holocaust.
“As we reflect on and learn from history, we must always be aware of the vulnerabilities and needs of members of minority communities.
“It will be a privilege to share a platform with friends from the Jewish community at this significant memorial event on Friday.”
Other tragedies in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur are also remembered during the day at Lichfield Cathedral.
The events begin with a session from 10am to 12pm in the Nave for students featuring presentations from Ganza Gahizi Dieudonne, a survivor of the 1994 mass genocide in Rwanda, Dr Martin Frisher from Keele University and an ambassador from the Holocaust Educational Trust. This will be accompanied by readings and music – including a live performance of pieces from Schindler’s List.
At 12.30pm there will be a Eucharist dedicated to the memory of those killed in the Holocaust and all genocides. Then at 1.30pm, Bishop Michael, chair of the National Council of Christians and Jews, will give a lecture in the Nave, where he will be joined by members of the Jewish community. This will be followed by a special Evensong dedicated to Holocaust Memorial Day at 5.30pm.
The evening will end with a free showing of the film The Pianist, the Roman Polanski adaptation of the memoir of Władysław Szpilman. This will take place at 7.30pm in The Old Stables on The Close. Places are free but must be booked in advance by calling 01543 306240.