Hundreds attend Holocaust Memorial Day event

Chief supt Tony Nash, borough commander, Alex Jarrett, young mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, Harry

Chief supt Tony Nash, borough commander, Alex Jarrett, young mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, Harry Bibring, David Gold, chairman of West Ham United and John Barber, the Queens representative deputy lieutenant for Newham - Credit: Archant

Over 400 people attended a Holocaust Memorial Day event at Stratford’s Old Town Hall this morning.

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Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales led a candle-lighting ceremony in memory both of individuals who lost their lives during the Holocaust and to mark other genocides throughout history.

He was joined by Holocaust survivor Harry Bibring, David Gold, chairman of West Ham Utd, Alex Jarrett, Newham young mayor, John Barber, the Queen’s representative deputy lieutenant for Newham and Chief Supt Tony Nash, borough commander.

Guest speaker Mr Bibring, 90, recounted his experiences of escaping Nazi-controlled Austria as a 12-year-old boy in 1938 on a Kindertransport train to Britain.

The retired engineer, who is one of a handful of survivors, also answered questions from members of the public.

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Several Newham councillors tweeted their support of the event. Cllr Rokhsana Fiaz said there was an “amazing turnout” while Cllr Ayesha Chowdhury tweeted a picture of the packed room to her followers.

The Newham Every Child a Musician Orchestra and Choir opened the commemorations with a performance of a piece they specially composed for the day called Don’t Stand By.

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The song title is the theme of this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day message, in which people are encouraged to learn from the mistakes of history and create a safer and better future by not being bystanders while persecution of others happens.

Other performances by Newham school children included Tollgate Primary School Choir, a poem read by pupil Syeda Zainab Naqvi from Plashet School, a song by Kensington Primary School, plus Newham’s Every Child a Musician tutors.

Harry Bibring addresses the audience at the Old Town Hall

Harry Bibring addresses the audience at the Old Town Hall - Credit: Archant

Sir Robin said: “It is important to remember humanity’s past mistakes and educate our young people so that hopefuly history does not repeat itself in the future.”

The event was organised by Newham Council.

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