This week in Collective Worship in the theatre we are marking Holocaust Memorial Day which is actually on Wednesday 27th January. Of course it’s a difficult and harrowing subject and we might feel that some of our younger students are not ready to absorb such information yet. We may even feel we want to protect them from it. We will not be subjecting them to horrific pictures but we will be inviting them to consider what happened, and challenging them to think about what it means for them.
It’s a sobering thought to think that many children and young people were of course caught up in the atrocity of the Holocaust, just as they have been in more recent acts of genocide. Therefore, these horrific parts of the the history of humanity must never be forgotten.
Every year, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust choose a theme to focus on as part of marking the day. This year’s theme is ‘Don’t stand by’. Their materials not only remind us of the atrocities, but tell many stories of people who had the courage to do something significant to help, as well as the many others who did just stand by and do nothing.
As we think about these things it is a challenge to consider what it might mean for us to ‘not stand by’ when we see injustice, prejudice or bullying, especially in a school – and perhaps it even causes us to search our own hearts for traces of these things too.
In the words of Desmond Tutu
‘If you are neutral on situations of injustice you have chosen the side of the oppressor’. Desmond Tutu.
As we contemplate the horrors of times past, we recognise that many still find their lives dominated by injustice and oppression. We ask that peace would reign and there would be hope for those who live in fear for their lives.
Help us to be people who will not stand by, but instead stand up, and bring challenge and healing where hatred prevails.
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
If you are interested in exploring theses issues further click the link below for the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.