This Thursday, 27 January, is the day for everyone to remember the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, and the millions of people killed under Nazi persecution, and in the genocides which followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.
The 27th marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. In the UK, thousands of local events and activities take place every year – each one an opportunity for people to reflect on those whose lives were changed beyond recognition, and to challenge prejudice, discrimination, and hatred in our own society today. On this day, we all have a role to play to ensure that we learn the lessons of the past, to create a safer, better future. Here is an ecumenical prayer we can say, composed by the Council of Christians and Jews:
“Gracious God, on this one day, we call to mind other days, days of action and inaction, days of injury and loss. We are conscious of the darkest days and years, when so many lives were cut short by hatred; suffering which continues today. We recognise the ways we have faltered in faith, thinking less of others because they look different, sound different, feel in ways we will not imagine. We confess these and all our sins this day. May God who is rich in mercy, forgive us today and inspire us to live fully in every day to come, in friendship and solidarity with all people and the whole of creation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”