Down County Museum Marks Holocaust Memorial Day With Events for Local Schools

Down County Museum will mark  Holocaust Memorial Day with a range of activities for local schools, to raise awareness of the events which led up to the Holocaust, the impact and legacy of the Holocaust and the lessons which can be learnt from this and other genocides. 
 
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. 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. 

The Museum has joined with the Centre for Conflict Research to organise a workshop for local secondary schools focusing on the theme of ‘Don’t Stand By’, hate crime and exclusion. Pupils will work with a variety of facilitators to look at how different groups in our society can be the victims of hate crime and suffer exclusion and prejudice. The sessions will look at homophobia, religious and racial discrimination, disables people’s experiences of hate crime and the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers. The workshop will encourage young people to discuss issues around all of these and examine our own prejudices and responses to exclusion. The Institute for Conflict Research is an organisation which specialises in working on issues related to conflict, human rights, social transformation and social justice. The Centre works extensively with young people, in both school and informal settings and takes part in a wide range of arts based events to create awareness around social justice issues. This event for schools is just one of the initiatives the Museum has been involved with which looks at the Holocaust. The Museum’s online learning resource for schools, Finding Refuge During World War II: The Millisle Farm Story, can be accessed via www.downcountymuseum.com/findingrefuge and provides a host of resources for schools to investigate the rescue of Kindertransport children during the Holocaust. 

The Chairman of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Councillor Mickey Ruane, said ‘This is a very important initiative that will contribute to our young people learning more about the Holocaust and other genocides and learn how prejudice and intolerance can take root in society and contribute to terrible suffering. I am very pleased that workshops like this take place across our District bring to life the message of ‘Don’t Stand By’.

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