Powerful and moving testimonies from the town’s students will once again form the focal point of local commemorations for the 20th year of Holocaust Memorial Day in Milton Keynes this week.
The event will take place in the Milton Keynes Council Chamber tomorrow, Wednesday 30th January.
Students from Denbigh School will speak about their visit to Auschwitz and will be followed by a selection of readings by school pupils.
Emily Jones and Gemini Aldridge from Sir Herbert Leon Academy will share a presentation on seeing Auschwitz and linking to the theme of refugees and the importance of learning from the past.
Erica Stevens and Carly Smith, former students of Sir Herbert Leon, will also speak about the impact of visiting Auschwitz, becoming the first National HET award winners and marking the anniversary of the first Holocaust Memorial in Milton Keynes.
Milton Keynes Mayor Martin Petchey will launch proceedings, whilst Milton Keynes Council Chief Executive Michael Bracey will read the following Holocaust Statement:
- We recognise that the Holocaust shook the foundations of modern civilisation. Its unprecedented character and horror will always hold universal meaning
- We believe the Holocaust must have a permanent place in our nation’s collective memory. We honour the survivors still with us, and reaffirm our shared goals of mutual understanding and justice
- We must make sure that future generations understand the causes of the Holocaust and reflect upon its consequences. We vow to remember the victims of Nazi persecution and of all genocides
- We value the sacrifices of those who have risked their lives to protect or rescue victims, as a touchstone of the human capacity for good in the face of evil
- We recognise that humanity is still scarred by the belief that race, religion, disability or sexuality make some people’s lives worth less than others’. Genocide, anti-semitism, racism, xenophobia and discrimination still continue. We have a shared responsibility to fight these evils
- We pledge to strengthen our efforts to promote education and research about the Holocaust and other genocides. We will do our utmost to make sure that the lessons of such events are fully learned
- We will continue to encourage Holocaust remembrance by holding an annual UK Holocaust Memorial Day. We condemn the evils of prejudice, discrimination and racism. We value a free, respectful, and democratic society.
The full Holocaust Statement can be read here: http://hmd.org.uk/page/statement-commitment
Other highlights of the commemorative event will include:
‘Eileh Ezkera’, ‘En Kelohenu’ and two readings will be performed by the Milton Keynes & District Reform Synagogue Choir and Paul Salver, Regional Board for Remembering Srebrenica and Holocaust Educational Trust Educator, will also present a talk about the massacre.