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Holocaust Memorial Day 2023

On Friday 27 January the OU marked Holocaust Memorial Day, a national commemoration day dedicated to the remembrance of the millions of people who died during the Holocaust under Nazi persecution and the genocides that followed in many countries around the world.

In 2023, the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day is 'Ordinary People'. Ordinary people facilitated genocide and ordinary people were persecuted by genocide simply for being who they are. This year we ask ourselves what we, as ordinary people, can do to challenge prejudice and stand up to hatred.

Social justice is at the centre of our OU mission, and we are committed to creating a welcoming, safe and inclusive environment for students and staff. We believe that accessible education is a powerful tool for social mobility, improving people's lives, and building better communities. 

Open to understanding

We recognise that our teaching, learning and research can be powerful tools to understand the experiences of others and challenge prejudice. 

Dr Fidele Mutwarasibo, Director of the Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership (CVSL) and Lecturer in Work-Based Learning, at the OU Business School Faculty of Business and Law, shared a reading at the Milton Keynes Rose Trust Holocaust Memorial Day event on 27 January. 

The reading was on Fidele’s lived experience in Rwanda of encountering ordinary people, he had known in other ways, who had been misled by unscrupulous leadership and ended up being involved in gross human rights violations. Fidele concluded his remarks quoting the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu:

Opinion formers should be careful with their words: Words do not only describe reality. Words create reality.” 

Gillian Mawdsley, OU Law School Associate Lecturer also published a blog post Remembering Ordinary People

In 2022 the OU launched Open Futures Sanctuary Scholarship, which provides the opportunity for new, UK-resident students who have been displaced from their homeland or place of residence to study for free. The OU also launched a series of measures aimed at helping students and Ukrainians fleeing war.

Information and events

Further information on Holocaust Memorial Day and resources, news and stories are on the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust website.

Events which commemorated Holocaust Memorial Day across the four nations included:

At 4pm on Friday 27 January people across the nation lit candles and put them safely in their windows to commemorate the day.