Melissa York, Reporter
Monday, January 28, 2013
Newham schools, politicians, and sportsmen joined together with historical experts and Holocaust survivors to pay tribute to millions of Jewish people who lost their lives.
Holocaust Memorial Day on Sunday was also an opportunity to promote community cohesion and the borough’s extraordinary racial diversity the 68th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Newham Council held an event for the entire community in Newham Town Hall on Friday that featured the ceremonial lighting of candles, John Donne’s ‘No Man is an Island’ read by the pupils of Rokeby School, and a lecture from Professor Michael Berkowitz, an expert in Modern Jewish History at University College London.
Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales said: “I am proud of the fact that this is the most diverse borough in the country but one that is united, as the incredible summer of 2012 showed.
“But we must never be complacent. We must be vigilant and stand together against intolerance and hatred.”
West Ham MP Lyn Brown was unable to attend the event in Newham so she signed the Book of Commitment in Parliament organised by the Holocaust Educational Trust.
Over in Upton Park, West Ham United Football Club led their fans in a 15 minute tribute by lighting six candles - one for every million Jewish people killed during the Holocaust.
Meeting at the Boleyn Ground, the people chosen to do the honours were West Ham United non-executive director Daniel Harris, Football Association director of football development Sir Trevor Brooking, Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales, Holocaust survivor Zigi Shipper, Royal British Legion East Ham branch secretary Ken Hill and Marc Bandel, the grandson of a Holocaust survivor.
West Ham United joint-chairman David Sullivan said: “We were proud to mark Holocaust Memorial Day at Saturday’s game with Queens Park Rangers by the lighting of six candles at the side of the pitch before kick-off.”