Holocaust Memorial Day 2022

Holocaust Memorial Day, Thursday 27 January 2022

Published: 4th January 2022

‘One Day’: Holocaust Memorial Day 2022

The events of the Holocaust and the other genocides of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries can seem overwhelming and too much to take on board. That is one of the reasons why each year’s Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) has a specific theme. For 2022 the theme is ‘One Day’, a concept that can be interpreted in many ways: one day to change the world, one day to examine what happened, one day that changed the course of events, only one day to focus on, and so on.

When we reduce these big events to one day we can really begin to explore the way in which human actions have an impact on things rather than simply being influenced by events. It is frequently the decisions of individual people that lead to changes both good and bad. 24 hours, though short, can be decisive.

At the HA we are exploring this concept of one day through the decisions made at the Wannsee Conference held on 20 January 1942. The outcomes of that meeting 80 years ago sealed the fate of millions of innocent people across Europe. Nazi officials gathered at the Wannsee Villa lake house just outside central Berlin and within a morning, in complete contrast to the beauty of the setting, had organised the mass murder of men, women and children with clear administrative details. While you cannot suggest that without the conference at Wannsee on that January day the Holocaust would not have taken place – after all it had already started – you can suggest that if that day had not occurred in the way that it did, the mass management of the genocide might not have been so efficient and emphatic. This one day in January would ultimately put an end to Jewish communities that had existed in some parts of Europe such as Italy and Greece for two thousand years.

One day can also be a turning point, and in one day of resistance every single member of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising made it clear to the Nazis that they could not get away with their murderous plans without defiance.

In Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia and all the other genocides, we know that one day can mean the end of everything and the rescue of something. It is the people who create actions, not the events themselves. At the heart of this theme we are reminded that in one day we can learn far more than just how quickly time passes: instead we can learn how easy it is to not see the impact of our actions on any single day.

To commemorate HMD 2022 we hosted a members’ webinar on Wednesday 12 January on Using 'One Day' to explore the actions that helped to lead to the Holocaust and actions of genocide. Members can view the filmed webinar via the following links: 

We also hosted a Virtual Branch talk on Wednesday 26 January asking Why does the massacre of the Armenians in the First World War still get overlooked?

Other resources also available include: