Holocaust Memorial Day 2024

Fragility of Freedom  

Lewes Holocaust Memorial Day

Holocaust Memorial Day  is a day of remembrance for the six million Jews, 500,000 Roma and the many millions killed in Nazi persecutions, alongside the millions of people murdered under Nazi persecution of other groups and during more recent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

Since 2015, Lewes Holocaust Memorial Day Group have run events in the days around Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) on January 27, which marks the date of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp in 1945.

The national theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2024 emphasises the dangerous ease by which basic human freedoms can be lost, and persecuted people can become victims of genocide. Not only do perpetrator regimes erode the freedom of the people they are targeting, demonstrating how fragile freedom is, they also restrict the freedoms of others around them, to prevent people from speaking out. Despite this, in every genocide there are those who risk their own freedom to help others.

Depot will screen three films, all introduced by members of Lewes Holocaust Memorial Day Group: they show how Nazi persecution shattered the harmony of a Greek community (Trezoros), the courage of an individual in saving hundreds of Czech Jewish children in 1939 (One Life), and the early stages of what became genocide in Armenia in 1915-16 and the bravery of those who risked their lives to help others (The Promise).

Holocaust Memorial Day events at Depot

Film: The Promise

Introduced by Lewes Holocaust Memorial group member Jackie Stimpson.

Sunday 28 January

(Rated 12A, 2016, 113mins)

It is 1914. As the Great War looms, the mighty Ottoman Empire is crumbling. Constantinople, the once vibrant, multicultural capital on the shores of the Bosporus, is about to be consumed by chaos. Michael Boghosian arrives in the cosmopolitan hub as a medical student determined to bring modern medicine back to Siroun, his ancestral village in Southern Turkey where Turkish Muslims and Armenian Christians have lived side by side for centuries. 

Photo-journalist Chris Myers, has come here only partly to cover geo-politics. He is mesmerized by his love for Ana, an Armenian artist he has accompanied from Paris after the sudden death of her father.

When Michael meets Ana, their shared Armenian heritage sparks an attraction that explodes into a romantic rivalry between the two men. As the Turks form an alliance with Germany and the Empire turns violently against its own ethnic minorities, their conflicting passions must be deferred while they join forces to survive even as events threaten to overwhelm them.


Film: Trezoros

Q&A with producer Lawrence M. Russo, hosted by Betty Skolnick, Commitee Member of  Lewes Holocaust Memorial Day Group.

Tuesday 30 January

(Rated 18, 2016, 93mins)

A moving documentary that illuminates the lives of a Sephardic community in Greece whose story speaks for all people who have been decimated by war and discrimination.

Using never-before-seen pre-war archival footage and first-person testimonies, ‘Trezoros: The Lost Jews of Kastoria’ chronicles the Jewish life and culture of Kastoria, a picturesque lakeside village in the mountains of Northwestern Greece, near the Albania border.

Lewes Holocaust Memorial Day Group

The programme was put together by this group in conjunction with the national organisation, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. The Trust commemorates 27 January, the anniversary of liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp in 1945. Holocaust Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for the millions of people killed in Nazi persecutions and later genocides.

For news and to find out more about the group, please visit the website. If you would like to be involved in this or future HMD projects in Lewes, please get in contact via the website or facebook group.

The national Holocause Memorial Day Trust’s annual one-hour online event takes place on Thursday 26 January at 20:00. See hmd.org.uk for details on how to view.

The organisers would like to thank Lewes Town Council, Lewes District Council and Depot Cinema for their generous support.