The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) has announced the winners of its second ever photographic competition to mark Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) – the theme for the HMD 2022 contest was ‘One Day’ and was open to entrants aged 14-25, who were asked to send in a photograph that finished the sentence ‘One Day…’.
The judging panel for the competition included the photographers Rankin and Mussa Uwitonze (who became an orphan during the Rwandan genocide), the curator of the Open Eye Gallery, Mariama Attah, HMDT trustee Tulip Siddiq MP and HMDT CEO, Olivia Marks-Woldman OBE. The panel was looking for creative and original images, where the photographer had clearly engaged with the ‘One Day’ theme. An HMDT spokesperson explained, ‘One Day looks to the past, present and future. We learn more about mistakes from the past, celebrate individual identities today, and take action for a future free from identity-based hostility.’
The highest scoring winner in the competition was ‘One Day of Remembrance’ by 18-year-old Julia Rapoport. She explained, ‘I wanted to create a photograph that focused on both the hope and memory of the holocaust survivors; I chose to represent this with the use of the ‘Forget-Me-Nots’ flower, symbolising on one side the victims, and on the other the persecutors, who, by plucking the petals, illustrate their control over the prisoner’s destiny. The meaning behind the flower is ‘to never be forgotten’, the victims of the holocaust are reaching out, soiled in dirt and bruises, desperate to not be a part of the of faceless millions who had died beside them.’ Rankin said of the winning image, ‘It’s an excellent image. Conceptually brilliant, technically well executed and emotionally very touching.’
The Open Eye Gallery’s curator Mariama Attah commented, ‘The submissions for the HMDT One Day competition were impressive in their empathy, maturity and insight. The photographers showed a real range in their approach, practice and vision, and I think they offered unique perspectives that I was surprised and thrilled by.’ Fellow judge, Tulip Siddiq MP, admitted, ‘I was blown away by the photos, all of which were powerful and poignant. The photos gave me hope that as a society we can learn from the mistakes of the past and forge a better future.’
The three other winners were 16-year-old Sophie Harris-Aldred with her image ‘One day packing a case’, 19-year-old Eloise Bishop with her picture ‘One day when things don’t run like clockwork’ and 21-year-old Mira Svestarska with her photograph ‘One day all is left is a photograph’. It was the second year of the competition, which last year had the theme ‘Light Up the Darkness’.
Of her image, One day packing a case, Sophie Harris-Aldred explained, ‘’Pack a suitcase’, many were told before being forced into a cattle train, no clues as to where they were going. Some weren’t told to pack, nor given the opportunity, just taken away then and there. Not many, if any, knew that might be the last case they packed, placing belongings such as clothes, books, letters, shoes, jewellery, sentimental valuables and children’s toys in them. One case per person; no more. Packing a suitcase today will never cross our minds as it did the victims, for we know we can return to the stuff left behind at home, they didn’t.’
Of her image, One day when things don’t run like clockwork, Eloise Bishop revealed, ‘On display in Auschwitz-Birkenau is a set of keys. There was one day when the person who owned these keys was forced from their home. They took their keys with them, hopeful that one day they would return. That one day would never come for most during the Holocaust. This photo of my keys, taken on the Glasgow Subway, is a reminder of how lucky the majority of us are to get to return home at the end of each day.’
Speaking about her image, One day all is left is an old photograph, Mira Sveshtarska said, ‘In a small foreign country, in a small village, in a house that is falling apart under the pressure of the unforgiving time, hangs all that is left from somebody’s life – a soul captured and imprisoned in old photographs. A harsh reminder of a moment in time that no longer exists.’
The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust is a charity that established and funded by the UK Government to promote and support Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) in the UK. HMD has taken place in the UK since 2001, with a UK Commemorative Ceremony and more than 10,000 local activities taking place all across the UK on or around 27 January each year. Holocaust Memorial Day encourages remembrance in a world scarred by genocide. The HMDT promotes and support HMD to remember the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, the millions of people killed under Nazi Persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. To find out more go to: www.hmd.org.uk