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Holocaust commemoration to be held in April to align with Yom HaShoah

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Wednesday 19 January 2022

Following a request by the Dean of Guernsey and members of the Jewish community in Guernsey, the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture has agreed that the Holocaust will be commemorated later in the year to align with the Yom HaShoah commemoration in April.

A Holocaust Memorial Day service had previously been held each year on 27th January. This has taken the form of a memorial service at the White Rock led by the Dean of Guernsey, the Very Reverend Tim Barker, followed by a service of music, performance and prayer at the Town Church.

In the early spring of 2021, the Dean was approached by members of the Jewish community who suggested that we align our commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day with Yom HaShoah, in April. Lockdown had prevented the commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day in January 2021.

The Committee was happy to support the request and hopes the shift in date will encourage even more participation from the community in this important commemoration. A new working group, including the Dean and members of the Jewish community, will now develop plans for this year's event. Further details will be announced in due course.

Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen, President of the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture, said:

'I'd like to thank the Dean of Guernsey, Tim Barker, for engaging with us on this important issue, himself having been approached by members of the Jewish community in Guernsey who were wanting to encourage greater participation in this commemoration. While the United Nations designated 27 January as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, countries around the world commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day on different dates. It was felt that by moving our commemoration to align with the Jewish Yom HaShoah, which takes place in April or May each year, this will give the commemoration a wider audience with a significant multi-faith emphasis. We also hope that the weather will be kinder and enable more islanders to play an active role.'

The Very Reverend Tim Barker, Dean of Guernsey, said:

'I was delighted to receive an approach from representatives of the Jewish community locally asking for my support in seeking a change to the official date where the island commemorates the Holocaust. Yom HaShoah is the recognised commemoration date in Israel and other countries and, while commemorating the Holocaust means a great deal to all faiths and communities as we collectively strive to ensure such atrocities never occur again, aligning with the Jewish community's wishes felt like the right thing to do. I want to thank the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture for being so willing to engage and adapt.'

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