Thursday 27 January Holocaust Memorial Day
Holocaust Memorial Day is an international day on 27 January to remember the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, alongside the millions of other people killed under Nazi Persecution and in genocides that followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.
27 January marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.
The Holocaust threatened the fabric of civilisation, and genocide must still be resisted every day. Our world often feels fragile and vulnerable and we cannot be complacent. Even in the UK and Ireland, prejudice and the language of hatred must be challenged by us all.
Belfast Cathedral is marking this day with a concentration camp prayer recorded by Anthony Bloom:
Peace to all men of evil will. Let vengeance cease and punishment and retribution. The crimes have gone beyond measure, our minds can no l0nger take them in. There are too many martyrs... Lord do not weigh their sufferings on your scales of justice, and let them not be written in their act of accusation and demand redress. Pay them otherwise. Credit the torturers, the informers and traitors with their courage and strength of spirit, their dignity and endurance, their smile, their love, their broken hearts which did not give in even in the face of death, even in times of greatest weakness... take all this into account Lord for the remission of the sins of their enemies, as the price of the triumph of justice. Take good and not evil into account. And let us remain in our enemies' thoughts not as their victims, not as a nightmare, but as those who helped them overcome their crimes. This is all we ask for them.
Image shows the Hebrew Bible, open at Lamentations 3, part of which reads:
I am one who has seen affliction
under the rod of God’s wrath;
he has driven and brought me
into darkness without any light;
against me alone he turns his hand,
again and again, all day long.
He has made my flesh and my skin waste away,
and broken my bones;
he has besieged and enveloped me
with bitterness and tribulation;
he has made me sit in darkness
like the dead of long ago.
He has walled me about so that I cannot escape;
he has put heavy chains on me;
though I call and cry for help,
he shuts out my prayer;
he has blocked my ways with hewn stones,
he has made my paths crooked....
Those who were my enemies without cause
have hunted me like a bird;
they flung me alive into a pit
and hurled stones on me;
water closed over my head;
I said, ‘I am lost.’
I called on your name, O Lord,
from the depths of the pit;
you heard my plea, ‘Do not close your ear
to my cry for help, but give me relief!’
You came near when I called on you;
you said, ‘Do not fear!’
You have taken up my cause, O Lord,
you have redeemed my life.
You have seen the wrong done to me, O Lord;
judge my cause.
You have seen all their malice,
all their plots against me.
You have heard their taunts, O Lord,
all their plots against me.
The whispers and murmurs of my assailants
are against me all day long.
Whether they sit or rise—see,
I am the object of their taunt-songs.