Television personality and barrister, Robert Rinder, is to speak at Exeter Cathedral this month as part of a special service to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day.
Rinder will be joined by psychologist, Bernie Graham, to give a 45-minute talk on the Holocaust Memorial Trust’s theme of ‘Ordinary People.’ Their appearance at Exeter Cathedral follows Rinder’s BBC One documentary series, My Family, The Holocaust and Me, in which both men explore the historical impact of the Holocaust on their families and on their own roles as second-generation survivors.
Local representatives of the Jewish, Islamic, Gypsy, Roma and diverse communities, as well as school pupils, will attend the Exeter Cathedral service on Friday 27 January and light candles to remember victims of genocide. The Lord Mayor of Exeter, Chairman of Devon County Council, and Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Devon are also expected to be at the event, which has been organised in partnership with religious education and collective worship advisors SACRE Devon, Exeter City Council, Devon County Council and the Diocese of Exeter, the Church of England in Devon.
Holocaust Memorial Day is an international day of remembrance, marking the anniversary of the Second World War liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp. As well as remembering the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, and millions of others from minority groups killed under Nazi persecution, Holocaust Memorial Day also remembers more recent genocides, including those in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur in Sudan.
The theme for this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day, and subject of Rinder and Graham’s talk at Exeter Cathedral, is ‘Ordinary People.’ Organisers of the day, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, say the theme is designed to explore the roles of ordinary people in genocide, and consider how ordinary people might play a bigger role in challenging prejudice today.
The free talk at Exeter Cathedral is part of a series of events planned in the city to mark the day, which closes with a special ceremony at Exeter’s Guildhall. The cathedral is also hosting a special talk by Dr Avril Alba, Associate Professor of Holocaust Studies and Jewish Civilisation at the University of Sydney in Australia. Dr Alba’s talk, which takes place on Thursday 19 January, investigates life for Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto during the Second World War.
For The Very Revd Jonathan Greener, Dean of Exeter, promoting awareness of the Holocaust and other genocides is an important part of its role in the wider community:
“Exeter Cathedral is here for all the communities of Devon, and so it is fundamental to our mission that we do all we can to support opportunities such as Holocaust Memorial Day, which challenge prejudice and the language of hatred in society.
“We are extremely grateful to Robert Rinder, Bernie Graham and Avril Alba for their generous help in marking this incredibly important occasion with us, and we look forward to welcoming local people of all faiths and none, from every local community.”
The Holocaust Memorial Day service at Exeter Cathedral begins at 10am on Friday, 27 January. The service is free for anyone to attend, but advance booking is necessary.