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Vigil honouring Holocaust Memorial Day in Sheffield Winter Garden

Four lit tealights in a row

Vigil honouring Holocaust Memorial Day in Sheffield Winter Garden

Sheffield City Council’s Holocaust Memorial Day Vigil is taking place in Sheffield Winter Garden on 26 January 2023 from 5.15pm to 7.00pm.

It will commemorate the devastation of six million Jews killed during the Holocaust, alongside the millions of others who lost their lives under Nazi persecution and in genocides that followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

Each year a theme is chosen for the day, and for 2023 it is ‘Ordinary People’. It highlights the ordinary people who let genocide happen, the ordinary people who actively perpetrated genocide, and the ordinary people who were persecuted.

The theme prompts people to consider how ordinary people can perhaps play a bigger part than we might imagine in challenging prejudice today.

Genocide is facilitated by ordinary people. Ordinary people turn a blind eye, believe propaganda, join murderous regimes. Those who are persecuted, oppressed and murdered in genocide aren’t persecuted because of crimes they’ve committed - they are persecuted simply because they are ordinary people who belong to a particular group.

Ordinary people were involved in all aspects of the Holocaust, Nazi persecution of other groups, and in the genocides that have taken place.

Ordinary people were perpetrators, bystanders, rescuers, witnesses – and ordinary people were victims.

Sometimes, their choices were limited and sometimes they had to make life-threatening decisions. Ordinary people were the ones who made brave decisions to rescue, to hide or stand up. But ordinary people also made decisions to ignore what was going on around them, to be bystanders, to allow the genocide to continue.

There are also extraordinary people in every genocide, remarkable and unusual people, who went to extreme lengths to help, to rescue, to save, and in every genocide there were extraordinary people, who went to extreme depths to cause harm, to persecute, to murder.

Holocaust Memorial Day is a day that we put aside to come together to remember, to learn about the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and the genocides that followed, in the hope that there may be a future without genocide. We learn more about the past, we empathise with others, and we take action for a better future.

This year’s vigil will feature reflections from the Lord Mayor, Sioned Mair Richards, the Leader of the Council, Terry Fox and South Yorkshire Mayor, Oliver Coppard.

Ruth Schwiening, a Holocaust Refugee will speak about her own experience at 5.25pm.

From 6.15pm to 7pm people from various communities in Sheffield will share their reflections:

  • Jane Ginsborg – Reformed Jewish Community
  • Young people  – Henry Fanswhawe School Year 10
  • Terezia Rostas – Roma Community
  • Rabbi Golomb – Sheffield Jewish Orthodox Community
  • Ameena Blake – Muslim Community
  • Heather Patterson – LGBT Community
  • Magic Pen – Disabled Community

After the Statement of Commitment by the Lord Mayor and Father Grant Naylor of St Matthew's Carver Street, there will be a minute’s silence, music, and then the lighting of candles at 7pm as the ceremony closes.

Sioned-Mair Richards, Lord Mayor of Sheffield, said:

“Holocaust Memorial Day provides Sheffielders with the opportunity to remember those who were persecuted during the Holocaust, as well as all other genocides.

“Today’s remembrance will remind us of our role as people who have the choice to speak out about behaviours that persecute anyone else, for whatever reason. We are ordinary people who can change so many things rather than watching things that are not right happen around us.

“I look forward to seeing people from all faiths and communities joining us for this commemorative service on the 26th January.”

More information about this year’s event is here

More information about Holocaust Memorial Day is at