Client: The Holocaust Educational Trust
PR Team: In-house, the UK government and various organisations and individuals
Campaign: Holocaust Memorial Day
Timescale: June 1999 - January 2001
Returning from a trip to Auschwitz attended by Andrew Dismore MP in June 1999, Holocaust Educational Trust deputy director Karen Pollock raised the possibility of organising an official day on which to commemorate the Holocaust.
Dismore, the Labour MP for Hendon (London), promised that he propose to create one. Prime Minister Tony Blair accepted the proposal and referred it to Home Secretary Jack Straw, who conducted a consultation exercise through organisations, individuals and local authorities.
To provide a national mark of respect for all victims of Nazi persecution. To raise awareness and understanding of the Holocaust as a continuing issue for humanity. To reflect on more recent atrocities that raise similar issues.
Strategy and Plan
The response to the consultation exercise, including 150 local authorities, was very positive and the majority of respondents expressed their support of the proposal to implement an annual memorial day.
On 26 January 2000 the Annual Holocaust Memorial Day was established, and was pencilled in for January of the following year.
A steering group was formed that comprised three working groups - for education, national ceremony and local activities. The Trust had representatives in all groups.
In June 2000 the Trust was awarded a one-off grant from the Home Office in recognition of its contribution to Holocaust Memorial Day. The money was used to employ a Holocaust Memorial Day office.
In the autumn a Holocaust Memorial Day website (www.holocaustmemorialday.gov.uk) was set up, which included the statement of commitment, which was developed for recommended use at ceremonial occasions across the country.
In November an education pack was sent out to every school in England.
Leaflets and posters, developed in co-operation with the National Union of Students, were issued to universities, outlining how they could best commemorate the day.
The trust also held joint fringe meetings with the Commission for Racial Equality at all three party conferences. Trade unions were encouraged to promote the day. The trust also organised an exhibition in the House of Commons on 23 January this year.
Measurement and Evaluation
Holocaust Memorial Day garnered massive coverage from both the national and regional media. BBC2 broadcast live coverage of the day's event and pulled in an audience of between 1.5 million and two million viewers.
The Holocaust Educational Trust and other organisations worked successfully with the Home Office in orchestrating the multifaceted event.
The development of Holocaust Memorial Day combined many aspects of PR - from public affairs to media relations - and successfully communicated the horrors of and the lessons that can be learned from the Holocaust.