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Monday, 23 October, 2000, 17:22 GMT 18:22 UK
Holocaust memorial online
concentration camp prisoners
A day to remember the six million who died
A new website to promote Britain's Holocaust Memorial Day has gone online.

A day of remembrance will be held on 27 January next year, but as yet plans for what will happen remain vague.

The Home Secretary, Jack Straw, launched the site during a visit to the Imperial War Museum's holocaust exhibition in London.

He said the site was intended to provoke ideas on how the memorial day should be used to guarantee victims of Nazi terror were not forgotten.

The day itself marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. The idea for a memorial day was first suggested by the Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Jack Straw MP
Jack Straw wants an annual memorial day
Mr Straw said: "Holocaust Memorial Day will ensure that the horrendous crimes committed against humanity during the second world war are not forgotten by future generations.

He said details of exactly what would happen on the day are being finalised and would be announced via the website shortly.

It is expected that several senior politicians and a member of the Royal Family will pay respects to holocaust victims at a national ceremony in London.

Among those to be invited will be holocaust survivors and children from around the country.

The Beth Shalom Holocaust memorial centre supports the plan and its director Stephen Smith joined the Home Secretary at Monday's launch.

Future generations

"The lessons of the holocaust need to be spelled out again and again for each new generation," said Mr Smith.

As well as a national ceremony there will be a number of smaller events around the country to mark the memorial day.

A spokesman for the steering committee overseeing preparations for the memorial day said the website is aimed at coordinating events and plans.

As well as Jewish groups, ideas are being sought from organisations representing other minorities who were persecuted by the Nazis.

Several other countries, including Germany, have also chosen 27 January as an appropriate date to hold remembrance ceremonies.

Mr Straw said the day was intended to honour the memory of victims of genocide by the Nazis during the second world war.

"It underlines Britain's continuing commitment to opposing racism, anti-semitism, victimisation and genocide," he said.

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See also:

18 Sep 00 | Liberal Democrats
Kennedy welcomes holocaust memorial
27 Jan 00 | Europe
Work starts on Holocaust memorial
26 Jan 00 | UK Politics
Blair unveils Holocaust memorial plan
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