From Celebrating Diversity to British Values: The Changing Face of Holocaust Memorial Day in Britain
AffiliationUniversity of Chester
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Abstract2021 marks the twentieth anniversary of Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) in Britain. In the two decades since the inaugural ceremony took place successive British government have sought to position themselves at the very forefront of Holocaust remembrance and education on a national, international, and supranational, level. As such, the Holocaust has emerged as a dominant socio-political symbol in twenty-first century Britain even though the event intersects with the British experience in few ways, in part, due to the lack of connections the country has to the sites of deportation or extermination. Though the increase in activities for HMD suggests a growing engagement with the Holocaust in British society this obscures the complex discourses surrounding the day, and inherent tensions that have existed within it since its inception in 1999. This chapter explores some of these by tracing the shift in Holocaust remembrance in Britain since the establishment of HMD in 2001, considering the political tensions surrounding it and the changing politicised messages being promoted by it. It is the position of this chapter that, evermore, HMD is being utilised as a means by which to evoke specific values for the furthering of very particular political agendas.
CitationCritchell, K. (2021). From celebrating diversity to British values: The changing face of Holocaust Memorial Day in Britain. In T. Lawson & A. Pearce, (Eds.) The Palgrave handbook of Britain and the Holocaust. Palgrave Macmillan.
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