Holocaust Memorial Day Ceremony, 26th January 2014

Holocaust Memorial Day

The Holocaust provides a platform from which every form of discrimination and prejudice can be studied. It demonstrates what can happen when the principles of tolerance and respect break down and can be used to illustrate the important attitudes of people individually and generally in influencing behaviour and policies. The experience of the Holocaust has relevance in our world today and is significant in our efforts to combat racism and prejudice on all levels.

International Forum on the Holocaust

In January 2000, an International Forum on the Holocaust convened by the Swedish Government produced a Declaration entitled the Stockholm Declaration. Ireland, along with some 40 other countries signed the Declaration and, in doing so, pledged to encourage appropriate forms of Holocaust remembrance.

27 January has been chosen throughout Europe as Holocaust Memorial Day (UN International Day of Commemoration of the Holocaust). It is the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz – Birkenau concentration camp in 1945.

The Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) commemoration demonstrates the Irish Government’s commitment to the Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust. Holocaust Memorial Day has been marked in Ireland since 2003, on the evening of the Sunday nearest the 27th January. In 2015, it took place on 25 January.


The Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration is designed to cherish the memory of all of the victims of the Nazi Holocaust. The thrust of the commemoration programme is to serve as a constant reminder of the dangers of racism and to provide lessons from the past that are relevant today. The event honours the memory of the six million Jews as well as millions of other victims persecuted because of their nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, religious beliefs or political affiliations. A candle lighting ceremony is an integral part of the commemoration at which six candles are always lit for the six million Jews who perished, as well as candles for all of the other victims. The inclusion of all victim groups is fundamental to the commemoration and the importance of education about anti-semitism and all forms of intolerance is highlighted.

Representative persons from across the spectrum of Irish civic society are invited to attend. Everyone who attends the commemoration takes home a booklet specially written for that year. The booklet is later distributed to schools whenever a survivor of the Holocaust is invited to speak. Generally, survivors speak one or twice a week during term time to a minimum of 100 students at a time.

Groups / organisations involved in the event

The Holocaust Educational Trust of Ireland advises and assists the Irish Government with organising the Annual Holocaust Memorial Day celebration. The Department of Justice and Equality, (through the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration), Dublin City Council; Dublin Maccabai Charitable Trust and the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland are also involved in organising this event.

Funding since 2005

The Department of Justice and Equality / Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration has regularly granted funding towards the Annual Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration. The amounts granted since 2005 are given below.
Memorial Day Funding by Year Allocated Year
2005 €25,000
2006 €25,000
2007 €40,000
2008 €60,000
2009 €60,000
2010 €60,000
2011 €50,000
2012 €68,700
2013 €50,000
2014 €50,000
2015 €70,000

More information about the event can be found at the website of The Holocaust Education Trust of Ireland

Another important HETI initiative is the “Crocus Project”, the planting of crocus bulbs by students in memory of victims of the Holocaust. This project has been exported to other countries including Israel and the United States, and complements other activities like the National Holocaust Commemoration (highly commended by IHRA monitors), teacher training and school visits by Holocaust survivors.

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