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Locals unite to mark Holocaust Memorial Day

John Freeman
Over the last 10 years, the National Coalition Building Institute have organised a Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration in the Memorial Gardens by Lancaster Town Hall, with appropriate community events, displays, food and more in the Town Hall itself. Sadly, their funding was cut by the Coalition Government last year and it was unable to fund a similar event this year, due to other financial commitment.

Despite this, locals circulated news of an informal gathering to mark the Day. Michael Nunn reports...

Over two dozen people with candles or torches assembled on a cold January night last Thursday, the 66th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, for a brief and informal candle lighting event to commemorate those who were persecuted, tortured and killed by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945.

After a welcome a minute’s silence was observed, followed by the intoning of the Kaddish, a traditional Jewish lament. Then some people representing some of the communities which were targeted by the Nazis – the Jews, Gays, the Disabled, Travellers/Romanies and ‘people of conscience’ and even children – spoke of the tragic losses suffered.

Some pledged to fight prejudice and hatred of any kind, others questioned whether anyone could actually ‘stand up and be counted’ today for the same principles. There were calls to remember and honour the victims, and that we should ‘never forget’.

A representative of Amnesty International spoke about the work of his organisation, which this year marks the 50th anniversary of its founding, which campaigns against political warfare, torture, oppression and persecution.

The intimate and very moving event concluded with further solemn reflection, and a brief final prayer. 

Copyright © 27 January 2011 Michael Nunn. Published with permission