A group of young Manchester activists are using their talents to commemorate the Holocaust through a unique artistic lens.
The Creative Activists are a group of young people, aged 18 to 25 years old, many of whom are students currently at university in Manchester.
They’ve been spending months combing through the museum’s collections to find moving stories from the Second World War, through which they can study how the freedoms of Jewish people were eroded during the Holocaust.
Gemma Meek, Programmes Manager at Manchester Jewish Museum, said: “They’ve been making artwork from creative writing to drawn pictures to video to explore and share some of these stories from our collection.”
Some of the program elements they’ll be running on the day include a zine making workshop, encouraging people to think about what freedom means to them, and a space for people to memorialize and grieve their loved ones.
Gemma said: “We really learn so much from these young people, they see things within our collections and our program that we haven’t noticed before.
On the day, the museum will also be rolling out a new Austrian café menu, connecting the food on site to the story of the Harris House Girls, a group of Jewish-Austrian refugees whose diaries you can explore.
Gemma highlighted that this event welcomes people from all backgrounds in the hope to commemorate those impacted not just by the Holocaust, but by other genocides such as Rwanda, Cambodia, Bosnia and Darfur.
The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust has chosen ‘Fragility of Freedom’ as this year’s theme internationally.
Gemma said: “I think Fragility of Freedom was chosen by HMD because of the persecution of lots and lots of different communities during the Holocaust, not just Jewish communities.
“Roma Sinti people were heavily persecuted, disabled people were heavily persecuted, as were LGBTQ communities, and they were persecuted about who they were.”
Manchester Jewish Museum are using this theme and the difficult current climate to look outwards through their memorial, into more groups of people, more injustices and more attacks on freedom around the world.
Gemma said: “The young people are looking into what freedoms people have, what freedoms did they loose and, from that, learn about what freedoms we should really be protecting today.
“That could be just the fact that you can self-identify; it could be the fact that you should be able to grieve in your own way; it could be the fact that you should have freedom just to enjoy freedom.
“Choose who you love, choose your own interests, choose your own profession, all of those things I think the young people are somehow drawing out through their work.”
The Reflections of Freedom open day will take place at Manchester Jewish Museum this Sunday, January 28th, and is free to enter.
You can read more about the event and book your ticket here: https://www.manchesterjewishmuseum.com/season/holocaust-memorial-day-2024/