Magilligan Prison is the unique and unusual setting for a special display to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2016.
Nissan huts within the walls of the prison have been converted to house images, created by prisoners, and audio visual displays of the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and subsequent genocides in which millions of people died.
Local schools have been invited to view the ‘Empty Spaces’ display which is being hosted in conjunction with the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and aimed at encouraging local people to honour the survivors of regimes of hatred.
Justice Minister David Ford also visited the display and speaking afterwards said: “I am very impressed by the work of the prisoners involved in this special project and the fact that schools will learn about the importance of honouring the survivors of past atrocities.”
Gary Milling, Deputy Governor at Magilligan said: “January 27 is the day for everyone to remember the millions murdered in the Holocaust, under Nazi persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur. It is important we honour the survivors of these atrocities and learn the lessons of their experiences to challenge hatred and discrimination today.
“The buildings at Magilligan which we are using for the display are similar to the type which would have been in use during World War II, and these empty spaces will be filled with the voices, stories and pictures of victims, survivors.
“Part of the project has also been prisoner involvement in the creation of the materials and spaces. It is their way of not standing by – contributing to the promotion of Holocaust Memorial Day and the development of young people in our community.”
Shirley Lennon, NI Regional Support Worker for HMDT said, “This is an exciting, unique project and we are delighted to support Magilligan Prison in organising it. I have personally been impressed with how prisoners have engaged in the display, demonstrating a wide range of skills. It is also a very effective way of encouraging schools and local communities to raise awareness and ‘Don’t Stand By’ which is the theme of this year’s campaign.”
Holocaust Memorial Day Trust packs, links and activity material are also being made available to pupils and teachers to encourage them to mark Holocaust Memorial Day in their class, school or in their local area.