Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales invites everyone to Holocaust Memorial Day event

Sir Robin Wales

Sir Robin Wales - Credit: Newham Council

On Wednesday, January 27 we will gather at Stratford Town Hall to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. We will light candles to remember those who lost their lives to the sickening atrocities of Nazi persecution and commemorate the liberation in 1945 of the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

We must never forget this and subsequent genocides. Equally we must not allow the day to become a platform for the agendas of others. Whilst there may be some who try to use it for their own ends, that should not stop us from educating and remembering this important episode in history.

Whilst the Holocaust is an intensely personal Jewish tragedy, it is a tragedy with universal resonance. It demonstrates the atmosphere in which genocide can take place, where people hold on to prejudices which are unfounded and illogical. These beliefs survive both because they are socially acceptable and because they remain unchallenged.

The theme of this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day is Don’t Stand By. Unfortunately there still remains in our society a degree of anti-Semitism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and homophobia and this is unacceptable. We all have a responsibility to stop these prejudices taking root and take action to highlight discrimination and persecution wherever it happens. We must celebrate and accept difference and never forget the common humanity and value which unites us

Next week survivor Harry Bibring, a witness to Nazi persecution in Austria in 1938, will share his testimony as our guest of honour and main speaker at our Holocaust Memorial Day event. By sharing his story and those of others we can ensure that the importance of the Holocaust is never forgotten, no matter how many years pass, as memories are passed from generation to generation

I hope as many people as possible can attend our event, which starts at 9.30am. More from Sir Robin

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