Special event in Dorchester to mark Holocaust Memorial Day

HOLOCAUST Memorial Day (HMD) will be marked with a special event in Dorchester next week (January 26).

On January 27, the millions of people who died during the Holocaust, under Nazi persecution, and in the genocides that followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur will be remembered.

January 27 marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, where more than a million people died during the Second World War.

To commemorate HMD this year, Dorchester Town Council and the South-West Dorset Multicultural Network, with the support of Dorset Council and Kushti Bok, have organised a free, public event on Friday, January 26, at the Corn Exchange in Dorchester, from 12.30pm to 1.30pm.

The event will involve speakers and music, as well as presentations from schools.

The theme for the service is ‘The Fragility of Freedom’ which will explore the idea that freedom is a fragile concept and one we should not be complacent about.

Eroding our freedoms is often a subtle, slow process, but if left unchecked can pave the way for greater crimes to be perpetrated against populations.

Emma Scott, community development officer at Dorchester Town Council, said: “This is always a very poignant event, and one that is still meaningful today.

“It allows us not only to remember those who died during the Holocaust and in subsequent genocides, but also to honour their deaths by pledging to stand up to discrimination and hatred which we continue to need to resist today.”

HMD 2024 marks the 30th anniversary of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, when Hutu extremists shattered the fragile freedom in the country, following decades of terrorism and violence, culminating in the murder of more than one million Tutsis in 100 days.

This took place 49 years after the Holocaust ended and just 19 years after the genocide in Cambodia.

The event will conclude with the lighting of candles and a minute’s silence and free refreshments will be available afterwards.

The Corn Exchange will open from noon to allow time to view displays and meet with the organisers, before the event commences at 12.30pm.

Cllr Alastair Chisholm, Mayor of Dorchester, said: “This is a longstanding event the town council has always been pleased to support.

“We especially value the input of children and young people as it ensures that the lessons of the past are being learned and shared to create a better future.”

And Cllr Val Pothecary, chair of Dorset Council, added: “Holocaust Memorial Day provides a stark reminder of all those who suffered and died because of their religious beliefs or cultural differences.

“We must never underestimate the potential of man’s inhumanity to man and the need to ensure that intolerance is replaced with wisdom and compassion.”

For more information about Holocaust Memorial Day, visit

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I am the editor in chief of Blackmore Vale media, which includes the New Blackmore Vale, New Stour & Avon, Salisbury & Avon Gazette and the Purbeck Gazette, having been a reporter for some 20 years. In my spare time, I am a festival lover, with a particular focus on Glastonbury. I live in Somerset with my wife and two children.