Holocaust Memorial Day marked with commemoration event in Stratford
PUBLISHED: 17:00 27 January 2020
Holocaust survivor John Hadju spoke of the need to remember what he and thousands of other Jewish people endured during the Second World War at a Holocaust Memorial Day event in Stratford.
The 82-year-old fled Budapest in 1956, having survived first Nazi persecution of Hungarian Jews then Soviet oppression after the country was liberated.
He told the audience at the Old Town Hall how his father had been sent to a forced labour camp while his mother, who he was reunited with after the war, was sent to a concentration camp in Austria.
Mr Hajdu said: "It is possible to learn through the power of words what I and thousands of others went through and that present and future generations must remember those dark days and shout never again. We just have to keep on talking about it."
The event, which was attended by more than 400 people, featured a performance from Britannia Village School's choir and readings from pupils from five of the borough's schools.
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As well as marking 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, the event on Monday, January 27 also marked 25 years since more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims were killed in Srebrenica.
Arnesa Buljusmic-Kustura, who survived the Bosnian genocide, spoke of the importance of remembering the horrors and lessons to make sure such atrocities are not repeated.
Other speakers at the Newham Council-organised event included Lady Hannah Lowy Mitchell, a documentary maker and emeritus trustee for Women for Women International, and Lord Parry Mitchell, who chaired the Coexistence Trust which encouraged dialogue between Jewish and Muslim students on UK university campuses.
Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz, who lit one of six candles in memory of genocide victims, said: "Remembering reminds us about everything we value about living in Newham.
"It's more important than ever now that we treasure our glorious diversity as a source of strength.
"Every single person needs to know that they belong here. And when we remember we also think about the people who spoke out against persecution, those who offered shelter and protection, and those who resisted murderous regimes."
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