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Making a New Home – Holocaust Memorial Day

Debbie Sunday attended the Holocaust Memorial Day vigil on 28th January representing Disability Sheffield and the Disability Hub. Debbie composed a moving piece, questioning how we support those displaced by genocide and war in making a new home.

The theme of the Memorial Day this year was Torn from Home and Debbie’s challenging piece really brings home some questions for everyone in the world today, helping us think about the continuing difficulties survivors face as they try to find and build new homes when the genocide is over.

Other events and happenings around Sheffield coinciding with Holocaust Memorial Day included a collection of posters and artwork displayed in the Winter Garden, an exhibition from the Sheffield Reform Synagogue and a screening of the film My Nazi Legacy: what our fathers did at the Showroom Cinema.

Making a New Home

For hundreds of years, the homes had existed,
Occupied by dozens of families living peacefully and happily,
Existing as their brothers’ keepers,
Safety, comfort, security of lives and properties, care and contentment – all were assured.
Then, suddenly, the homes are deserted;
Torn by wars, sadness, and quietness.
Families flee,
Loved ones are separated.
Children missing the warmth cuddling of their mothers,
Everyone looking for safety – a new home to make.

Displaced persons crowded in camps,
Faced by hardships, homeless, lost dreams and shattered hopes,
Escaping death at home but embraced by death in the Mediterranean Sea.
Oh! The endless lists of death:

  • The 257,000 disabled persons killed by the Nazis
  • The victims of Holocaust
  • The victims of Nazi persecution
  • The genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur

All these are the results of hatred, discrimination, racism and man’s inhumanity to man.

Have we not learned our lessons yet – to live in love, peace, and harmony; to respect every person’s uniqueness?

The rise in hate crimes against disabled persons and persons from other communities brings one thought to the heart – “Where shall we call a new home?”

Debbie Sunday

The comment about ‘man’s inhumanity to man ‘ is as relevant now as it was when Scotland’s most celebrated writer Robert Burns wrote in 1784 in ‘A man was made to mourn’:

“Many and sharp the num’rous ills
Inwoven with our frame!
More pointed still we make ourselves,
Regret, remorse, and shame!
And man, whose heav’n-erected face
The smiles of love adorn, –
Man’s inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands mourn!

Robert Burns


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