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Holocaust Memorial Day

Working in partnership in Medway

Since 2004, the Medway commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day has been organised jointly by Medway Council, Chatham Memorial Synagogue, Rochester Cathedral and the Medway Inter-Faith Action Forum. In 2010 they were joined by the Medway Youth Parliament. These five organisations are committed to ensuring that the Holocaust and other human atrocities are never forgotten.

We in Medway support the work of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. Further information about Holocaust Memorial Day can be found on their comprehensive website.

Holocaust Memorial Day 2023 - Ordinary People​


The Medway Holocaust Memorial Day Event took place in Rochester Cathedral on Thursday 26 January 2023 with the help of students from local schools and Medway Youth Council together with Kent Police, MIFA and representatives of the synagogue. There was also music from Rochester Cathedral Choir.


There was an exhibition of material from contributors that will subsequently be displayed in Chatham Library.


The theme for 2023 is "Ordinary People". Ordinary people were involved in all aspects of the Holocaust, Nazi persecution of other groups, and in the genocides that took place in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. Ordinary people were perpetrators, bystanders, rescuers, witnesses – and ordinary people were victims.

Holocaust Memorial Day 2022 -One Day

This year, due to the continuing Covid situation, the Medway Holocaust Day Event was a virtual event, hosted on the Medway Libraries YouTube Channel.


The video is a compilation of presentations by local schools, Kent Police, Medway Youth Council, The Canon Chancellor of Rochester Cathedral, The Bishop of Tonbridge and the Mayor of Medway.


There was a Psalm sung by Rochester Cathedral Choir and prayers by representatives of Chatham memorial Synagogue, Medway Inter-Faith Action and Medway Youth Council.


The link  will be available indefinitely.

The 2023 event will be in Rochester Cathedral and the 2024 event will be in the synagogue.

Holocaust Memorial Day 2021 - Be a Light in the Darkness

The 2021 Medway Holocaust Memorial Day event  was a virtual event because of the Corona Virus pandemic. it contains an introduction from the Mayor of Medway and presentations from local schools, Kent Police and the Medway Youth Council as well as prayers by representatives of the synagogue, MIIFA and MYC. A boy called Jack who recently celebrated his Bar Mitzvah, recorded a video about the Yad Vashem twinning project. All contributions were pre-recorded.

You can watch the event on the Medway Libraries YouTube channel by clicking the button below. The link will still be available after 27 January 2021.

Holocaust Memorial Day 2020

The theme for 2020 is "Stand Together". The aftermath of the Holocaust, and of subsequent genocides, continues to raise challenging questions for individuals, communities and nations. HMD 2020 asks audiences to think about what happens after genocide and of our own responsibilities in the wake of such a crime.

The 2020 Medway Holocaust Memorial Day event took place in  Rochester Cathedral on Monday 27 January, the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The Dean of Rochester lit a special commemorative candle, which was first lit in Chatham Memorial Synagogue on the 70th anniversary. The event included presentaions and prayers by local schools, Medway Youth Council., Medway Inter-Faith Action and  Kent Police, together with representatives of the synagogue. The Bishop of Tonbridge and the Mayor of Medway both spoke at the event.

Holocaust Memorial Day 2019

Torn from home

The theme for 2019 is "Torn from Home" We reflected on what happens when individuals, families and communities are driven out of, or wrenched from their homes, because of persecution or the threat of genocide, alongside the continuing difficulties survivors face as they try to find and build new homes when the genocide is over.

The 2019 Medway Holocaust Memorial Day event took place at Cliffe Woods Primary School on Monday 28 January . The event included presentations and prayers by local schools, Medway Youth Council., Medway Inter-Faith Action Kent Police and a Bulgarian Orthodox Priest, together with representatives of the synagogue.

Holocaust Memorial Day 2018

The theme for 2018 is "The Power of Words". Spoken and written words from individuals, corporations, community organisations or the state, can have a huge impact, whether good or bad. The theme for HMD 2018 explores how language has been used in the past, and how it is used in the present day. 

The 2018 Medway Holocaust Memorial Day event was held at Chatham Memorial Synagogue  on Friday 26 January 2018, as part of a traditional Jewish Friday evening service, for the eve of the Sabbath. Incorporated into the service were presentations and prayers by local schools, Medway Youth Council., Medway Inter-Faith Action and Kent Police, together with members of the synagogue. Prayers for peace were said in different languages.

Holocaust Memorial Day 2017

The theme for 2017 was "How can life go on?" The aftermath of the Holocaust and of subsequent genocides continues to raise challenging questions for individuals, communities and nations. HMD 2017 asked what happens after genocide. Click on the logo opposite to find out more.


Over 300 people attended the 2017 Medway commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day in Rochester Cathedral on Thursday 26 January 2017.

Holocaust prayers were led by members of the synagogue and other participants included local school and college students  as well as Kent Police, Medway Youth Parliament and Medway Inter Faith Action. Medway City of Sanctuary were accompanied by a group of Eritrean refugees who sung a hymn in their own language, The cathedral choir sang Psalm 42 and ended the programme with a beautiful sung version of the blessing very  familiar in Jewish liturgy "The Lord bless you and keep you", to an arrangement by John Rutter. The Bishop of Rochester presented certificates to the school who took part.

Holocaust Memorial Day 2016

The theme for 2016 was "Don't stand by". The Holocaust and subsequent genocides took place because  the vast majority stood by silently – at best, afraid to speak out; at worst, indifferent. Bystanders enabled the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and subsequent genocides. They tolerated cultures where increasingly punitive and oppressive discrimination and hostile policies could separate populations and ultimately lead to ethnic cleansing, destruction and attempted annihilation of communities.


Those who did not ‘stand by’ whilst persecution took place were not only bravely acting as resisters and rescuers of individuals, they were also taking action against prevailing views and beliefs that saw some people’s lives as worth less than others’.


The Medway event took place at MId Kent College in Gillingham on Wednesday 27 January 2016 The well attended event includeded contributions from the college, together with local schools, the Medway Youth Parliament, Kent Police and Medway City of Sanctuary.

Holocaust Memorial Day 2015


The theme for 2015 was "Keep the memory alive". By teaching the younger members of the community about what happened in the Holocaust, together with the subsequent events in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur, then hopefully we will learn lessons from the past to create a safer, better future.


The Medway event at Chatham Memorial Synagogue on 27 January included poetry, readings, music and drama by students from local schools, Mid Kent College and Medway Youth Parliament. 3 young people lit one of 70 special commemorative candles issued by the HMD Trust to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Previous events

Details of previous events from 2003 are now in a PDF document. Please click the button to display the document in a new window.

History of Holocaust Memorial Day


The National Holocaust Memorial Day was inaugurated by the government to ensure that this nation among others never forgets the most awful act of inhumanity committed in modern history. In remembering the Holocaust, we also call to mind the capacity that humans have to inflict horrendous crimes against one another, often whole groups of people, and indeed have committed before the time of the Holocaust and up to the present day.We must not let these events fade away into history, to be out of sight and out of mind. We constantly need to guard against those who would deny that they happened at all or were significant. All of us in a democracy are required to be watchful that power never over-reaches itself so as to bring disaster upon its people or any group of people within civilised society. To remember is one part of the collective responsibility. We also dare to hope that in spite of the worst that humans can do, we have the capacity to renew the world and bring peace. Therefore, collectively in Medway we shall renew our hope and recommit ourselves to work for a better world. The 27th January is chosen for National Holocaust Memorial Day because it was the date on which Russian troops liberated the concentration camp at Auschwitz

Medway Statement of Commitment


On Holocaust Memorial Day in 2006, a Medway Statement of Commitment was signed by the Mayor of Medway, the Dean of Rochester Cathedral and the chairmen of Chatham Memorial Synagogue and Medway Inter-Faith Action Forum.  To read the statement, click the button on the right.

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