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UK lights the darkness on Holocaust Memorial Day 2023

By Rajiv Raghunath - January 30, 2023

Rankin, Piccadilly Lights and BFI IMAX lead the commemorations

Ocean Outdoor screens across the UK joined a national moment to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2023. Leading the “Light the Darkness” commemoration were London’s Piccadilly Lights and the BFI IMAX.

In a powerful 11-minute domination, the Piccadilly Lights in London displayed black and white portraits of four genocide survivors taken by the British photographer and director Rankin.

The subjects included John Hajdu MBE, a Holocaust survivor; Sokphal Din BEM, survivor of the genocide in Cambodia; Antoinette Mutabazi, who survived the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda; and Amouna Adam, survivor of the genocide in Darfur.

These were followed by 30 original drawings, by artists aged from as young as 10, of individuals affected by the Holocaust, genocide or identity-based persecution. They included portraits of Iranian teenager Nika Shakarami, civil rights pioneer Claudette Colvin, resistance member Gad Beck, the chemist Primo Levi, scientist Alan Turing and the late Fay Healey who came to England on the Kindertransport and became a much-loved school lollipop lady in Litherland, Merseyside. Her portrait is drawn by Cerys, aged 10.

The space was donated by Landsec, which owns the Piccadilly Lights and the domination created by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. Holocaust and genocide survivors and their families watched the commemoration, lighting their own candles at 4pm.

Derek Manns, Commercial Media Director at Landsec, said: “Piccadilly Lights has become the national focal point for this annual act of remembrance which is both incredibly moving and powerful in its range and scope. We are privileged to be able to support such an important commemoration.”

Ocean Outdoor UK CEO Phil Hall said: “Our participation in this annual commemoration reflects Ocean’s purpose and role, using the power of our screens to support the communities where we have a presence.”

The BFI IMAX in Waterloo turned purple for 60 minutes, joining more than 50 other national landmarks including the London Eye, Natural History Museum, Edinburgh Castle and Blackpool Tower.

Across the nation, messages also appeared on 10 Ocean DOOH screens in Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle, Manchester, Derby, Edinburgh, Norwich, Nottingham, Bournemouth and Leeds.

Holocaust Memorial Day Trust CEO Olivia Marks-Woldman OBE said: “Each year on Holocaust Memorial Day, we come together to remember and to learn from genocide for a better future. Seeing many of the UK’s most iconic landmarks and screens light up in purple at the same time that people across the country are lighting candles in their windows at home is a poignant reminder of the responsibility that we all have to challenge hatred and prejudice today. We are immensely grateful to every landmark that is taking part, as well as to our generous supporters at Ocean Outdoor for their encouraging people to light the darkness.”

Ocean is also supporting an out of home campaign encouraging the British public to stand together against hate crime.  The Campaign Against Antisemitism has launched Britain’s first-ever national out of home (OOH) campaign seeking the public’s support against antisemitism after the most recent Home Office figures showed that Jews are 500% more likely to suffer hate crime than any other faith group per capita.


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