Friends of Down County Museum Mark Holocaust Memorial Day

Down County Museum has received a permanent memorial relating to Holocaust Memorial Day, which takes place every year on 27 January, from the Friends of the Museum in the form of a textile wall hanging they have made for the Museum’s collection.
Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on 27 January, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. During the period around this, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust encourages people to take part in activities to remember the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust,  the millions of other people killed in Nazi Persecution and the subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. This year, Down County Museum is running a number of activities for primary and secondary school groups and, in addition, to these the Friends of the Museum decided that they would mark the event by creating a piece of textile art.
The theme for this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day is ‘Don’t Stand By’ and as well as reflecting on the Nazi persecution of Jews and other groups, the theme encourages people to focus on the contemporary relevance of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides, and consider our individual responsibilities not to be bystanders to intolerance. Many groups taking part in this year’s events will be looking at the wider issue of hate crime and prejudice, and how these can take root in our society and lead to exclusion and persecution.  
The donation of the piece to the Museum’s collection will provide a reminder of Holocaust Memorial Day and an example of local art and craft.
The Friends of Down County Museum was established in 1987 to bring together local people who are interested in supporting the work of the museum. Every year the Friends organise local history themed events, social activities and fund raising activities. Membership of the Friends is a great way to support the Museum and get the opportunity to take part in local history projects. Anyone interested in joining the group can get more information from the Museum.
The Chairman of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Councillor Mickey Ruane, paid tribute to the work of the Friends and said, ‘I am very pleased that the Friends of Down County Museum are marking Holocaust Memorial Day with this beautiful wall hanging carrying a very important message. Holocaust Memorial day activities encourage us to reflect on the terrible legacy of persecution and exclusion and inspire us to do all in our power never to repeat them.’

Further Information: Linda McKenna at Down County Museum, the Mall, Downpatrick, Co Down, BT30 6AH. Tel: 028-44615218

Below: Members of the Friends presenting the wall hanging to Museum staff.