YORK Minster will once again light 600 candles in the shape of the Star of David to mark Holocaust Memorial Day later this month.

The candles will be set out on the floor of the cathedral’s ancient Chapter House on Saturday January 27 for the annual event.

The day remembers the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis in the Second World War - and the millions of other people of all faiths murdered in genocides which have occurred around the word since.

It has particular significance in York where, in 1190, an estimated 150 Jews – almost the entire Jewish community of York – died after being surrounded in Clifford’s Tower by a raging mob. Seeing no way out to safety most of the Jews chose to commit suicide in the keep.

This year Holocaust Memorial Day comes as conflict continues to rage in Gaza between the Israel Defence Forces and Hamas gunmen.

The conflict was triggered by an unprecedented cross-border attack by Hamas on southern Israel on October 7 last year, in which at least 1,300 people were killed - most of them civilians - and about 240 others taken hostage.

More than 23,000 people are thought have been killed in Gaza – many of them children and women - during the 13 weeks of fighting since then.

This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the Hutu genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. More than a million people were murdered in just 100 days after the violence began in April 1994.

The theme of this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day - Fragility of Freedom – reflects the way in which the erosion of freedom is often a precursor to persecution and genocide, the Minster says.

Dean of York The Very Revd Dominic Barrington said: “Despite recognising the signs and signals of authoritarian regimes stripping away fundamental human rights and freedoms, all too often we choose to look away, we choose not to hear.

“Contemplating such cruelty can be overwhelming but if we don’t, genocide can happen as it did in Nazi occupied Europe, in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

"This Holocaust Memorial Day we will hear accounts of lives lost to genocide and of survivors able to rebuild their lives but whose minds will never truly be free.”

The event will include poetry, readings, reflections and prayers and music by The Ebor Singers, an associate choir of York Minster.

People will be invited to go to the candlestands to light a candle throughout the event.

York Minster’s Holocaust Memorial Day event is on Saturday 27 January from 6.30pm until 8.00pm.

Free tickets are required for admission. To book, go to yorkminster.org or call 01904 557200.