UCL News


UCL marks Holocaust Memorial Day 2024

18 January 2024

Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) takes place every year on 27 January. Find out about UCL events marking the day, as well as key resources, podcasts and further information.

The UCL Portico lit purple at night

Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) is an annual, global day of observance held in remembrance of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust, alongside millions of others killed under Nazi persecution and during later genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. 

Inviting us to come together to remember and honour victims and survivors of genocide, HMD calls on people and governments around the world to reaffirm our commitment to preventing such atrocities from happening in the future. 

The theme for HMD 2024 is ‘Fragility of Freedom’ highlighting the ways in which those targeted for persecution will typically have their freedoms eroded and removed by perpetrator regimes. Freedom is fragile and vulnerable to abuse, and we cannot be complacent about it. 

Read more about this year’s theme on the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust website

A range of activities are taking place at UCL to mark HMD 2024. On 27 January the Portico building will be lit in purple, and UCL will be taking part in the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust’s #LightTheDarkness campaign on social media – use the hashtags #HolocaustMemorialDay and #LightTheDarkness on X, Facebook and Instagram. If you’d like to participate in the campaign from home you can light a candle at 8pm on January 27, and safely place it in your window. 

Our current list of scheduled events is below, alongside key resources around Holocaust education.


23 January, 6–7pm: Fragility of Freedom – Holocaust Memorial Day Online Event 2024

Online/open to all. 

A special event for our teaching community to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2024. Professor Mary Fulbrook will draw on her latest research and most recent book, Bystander Society, as she considers the most troubling of questions: How did ordinary people become complicit in the murder of their neighbours? Find out more and register.

24 January, 1pm–2pm: Lunch Hour Lecture for Holocaust Memorial Day: Telling the Story 

Online/open to all. 

Perhaps the most powerful way to understand the Holocaust is through the direct testimony of those who were the targets of Nazi antisemitism. In this special Lunch Hour Lecture to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2024, Holocaust survivor Mala Tribich will talk to Dr Michael Spence about how she survived against the odds, her liberation by the British at Bergen-Belsen, and ongoing effects of this traumatic past. 

27 January, 7pm: A New History of the Terezín Ghetto – Anna Hájková in conversation with François Guesnet (UCL Hebrew & Jewish Studies) 

In person/open to all.  

To mark Holocaust Memorial Day, Velehrad, in cooperation with the Czech Embassy and the Institute for Polish–Jewish Studies, will host paperback release of Anna Hájková’s The Last Ghetto. The event will take place at Velehrad (39 Lonsdale Road, Barnes SW13 9JP). To register please email marta.tomsky@velehrad.org.uk by 24 January. 

Podcasts, recordings and resources 

“The Fragility of Freedom”: the Centre for Holocaust Education ‘In Conversation’ with Robert Rinder MBE 

Preparing to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, the Centre’s Dr Andy Pearce was joined in conversation by Robert Rinder MBE, to reflect upon 2024's theme. Listen on the Centre’s website.

Sir Ben Helfgott – a tribute to a great leader, athlete and peacemaker

In June 2023, this country lost one of its greatest humanitarians and achievers, Holocaust survivor and leader of the British Holocaust survivor community, Sir Ben Helfgott. Read this moving tribute by Ruth-Anne Lenga, Associate Professor, UCL Centre for Holocaust Education.

Holocaust Memorial Day blog: why historical knowledge and conceptual understanding are key to engaging with the fragility of freedom

Reflections on the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2024.

Supporting schools and teachers to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2024

Resources from the Centre for Holocaust Education to support teachers and schools marking Holocaust Memorial Day 2024 by leading discussion of its theme ‘Fragility of Freedom’.

Lunch Hour Lecture – Together & apart: Remembering Jewish Ukraine in the context of empire and war  

Watch last year’s HMD Lunch Hour Lecture, delivered by Uilleam Blacker, Associate Professor of Ukrainian and East European Studies at UCL SSEES.  

Leon Greenman and the struggle for survival: Special Podcast

A podcast reflecting on the life and work of London-born Auschwitz survivor Leon Greenman.

Students’ Union UCL: Holocaust Memorial Day resources 

A comprehensive range of resources are listed including film, literature, museum exhibits and creative responses.