Newham schoolchildren commemorate Holocaust Day

Children from schools across Newham joined Mayor Sir Robin Wales as they lit candles in memory of those who died and suffered in the Holocaust.

They were among many who took part in events today, Holocaust Memorial Day, which marked the anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. Among them were Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham and Lyn Brown, West Ham MP.

Mayor Sir Robin Wales said: “The act of remembering is our opportunity to learn the lessons from the Nazi persecution, strengthen our resolve to tackle anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination and ensure that more recent genocides are neither forgotten nor repeated.”

The theme of this year’s event, which was held at the Town Hall from 10am to 12 noon, is ‘speak up, speak out’ and challenges those who continue to seek to deny the Holocaust. Guests included Gillian Walnes, co-founder of the Anne Frank Trust, and David Gold, chairman of West Ham United. Both are tireless campaigners against anti-Semitism and hatred.

The Mayor said: “In this Olympic year it is even more important to think about what could happen if we forget the lessons of the Holocaust. We must use the Games to bring together people of all cultures, creeds and ethnicities. In doing so we will build resilience through respect for difference and a shared sense of belonging.

“We all have a responsibility for making Newham a better place and making it stronger for the generations that follow. We can all do that by supporting Holocaust Memorial Day and showing that the suffering of the victims during the Holocaust – and those since – has not been in vain.”

Children performed music from Schindler’s List and extracts from the diary of Anne Frank. There were also readings by young people of stories of survivors of the Holocaust.