Liverpool will mark international Holocaust Memorial Day this year with a Service of Remembrance at Liverpool Town Hall.
The service, for invited guests, will be held on Friday, 27 January, and will include prayers led by Rabbi Natan Fagleman, Allerton Hebrew Congregation, and an Act of Commitment by representatives of other faiths.
There will also be a performance by the King David High School choir and John Gorman will read the poem “Peace Perfect Peace.”
The theme of this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day is “Ordinary People”, acknowledging the role that ordinary people have played in atrocities as well as the power everyone has to stop prejudice. Students from Alsop High School will reflect on the theme and former English teacher at King David High School turned artist and novelist Vivien Churney is the service’s guest speaker.
Vivien’s novel “Bound by the Scars We Share” is based on her own mother’s experiences during the Second World War. As a child she fled Poland with her family, moving to Belgium and then France where she became part of the Resistance Youth Movement, helping to take Jewish children through the mountains to Switzerland.
Liverpool Town Hall, the Cunard Building and St George’s Hall will also be lit purple on Friday to mark the day.
Liverpool is committed to promoting understanding and awareness of the Holocaust and this commitment was reaffirmed at this week’s City Council meeting.
Holocaust Memorial Day is held on 27 January each year, marking the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, as well as serving as an act of remembrance of all victims of the Holocaust and more recent genocides in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur.
Lord Mayor of Liverpool Cllr Roy Gladden said:
“Each year, Holocaust Memorial Day gives us space to remember those who have been victims of genocide and renew the commitment that these crimes can never be allowed to happen again.
“This year’s theme is ‘Ordinary People.’ Ordinary people are not only the victims of genocides, they are the perpetrators. People who turn a blind eye to prejudice and believe propaganda.
“It’s easy to think that these appalling crimes that happened in the past have little to do with us today, but fighting ignorance and hatred is the responsibility of all of us and this week’s service at the Town Hall is a timely reminder of that.”
Novelist Vivien Churney said:
“Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on 27 January each year. It is a time when we remember millions of people who perished under the Nazi regime during the Holocaust of World War Two and subsequent genocides.
“It is a time to ensure that together we should never forget that genocide occurs when leaders promote division instead of harmony and encourage racism and hatred to grow strong. Future generations must be educated through this remembrance of the past so that never again will such atrocities happen.”
Jeremy Wolfson, chair of the Holocaust Memorial Day Planning Group and a member of Liverpool’s Jewish community, said:
“Holocaust Memorial Day gives us an opportunity to reflect on the Holocaust and subsequent genocides and raise awareness of not only what happened, but to try and ensure that the attitudes which led to them are not repeated.”