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Calling all local poets ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day 2023

Holocaust Memorial Day graphic

Holocaust Memorial Day takes place internationally every year on 27 January, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. It gives us the space to remember the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, the millions of other people killed by the Nazi persecution of other groups, and in the genocides which followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.

Ahead of the 2023 memorial, we’re inviting local people to submit poems of a maximum of 200 words, inspired by this year’s theme – Ordinary People – by 12 January. The poetry competition is in memoriam of local poet John Gohorry, who, prior to his death in 2021, was a big supporter and contributor to our Holocaust Memorial Day events.

The writer of the winning poem will receive a £10 gift voucher for Next Page Books and be invited to read their poem, or nominate someone to read it on their behalf, at our event on 27 January.

Cllr Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg, Leader of North Herts Council, said: “Holocaust Memorial Day provides an opportunity to remember everyone affected by the Holocaust and other terrible acts of genocide, and learn from the past – as well as the present.

“Ordinary people were involved in all aspects of the Holocaust and other genocides, ordinary people were perpetrators, bystanders, rescuers, witnesses – and ordinary people were victims.

“The late and much missed Cllr Judi Billing started our Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations. She brought people together from across communities for the event as a space for ordinary people to reflect each year on the themes of Holocaust Memorial Day and the lessons of the past. Judi had invited local poet John Gohorry to be part of our commemorations in the past, and we hope local people get involved by submitting a poem or joining us online on the day.”

Providing more information on this year’s theme, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT), a charity established and funded by the UK Government to promote and support Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK, said: “Genocide is facilitated by ordinary people. Ordinary people turn a blind eye, believe propaganda, join murderous regimes. And those who are persecuted, oppressed and murdered in genocide aren’t persecuted because of crimes they’ve committed – they are persecuted simply because they are ordinary people who belong to a particular group.”

If you would like to enter a poem or have any queries, please email

You can watch a live stream of the event on 27 January on our YouTube channel from 10.30am.

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