Powerful and moving testimonies from Milton Keynes students will once again form the focal point of local commemorations to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
Students Dru Blackman and Kayleigh Stratton from Sir Herbert Leon Academy will recount their experiences of visiting Auschwitz during the commemorative event taking place in the Milton Keynes Council Chamber on Monday, January 29, at 6.15pm.
Students from Ousedale School will also speak about their contribution to the HMD Trust Postcard Project.
And students Ananya Pikale, Innes Varnica, Honor Fulton, Emily Hancock & Lucy Turner from Denbigh School will speak about their visit to Sachsenhausen prison camp.
Milton Keynes Mayor David Hopkins will launch proceedings, whilst MKC Chief Executive Carole Mills (pictured) will read the following Holocaust Statement:
‘We recognise that the Holocaust shook the foundations of modern civilisation. Its unprecedented character and horror will always hold universal meaning
‘We believe the Holocaust must have a permanent place in our nation’s collective memory. We honour the survivors still with us, and reaffirm our shared goals of mutual understanding and justice
‘We must make sure that future generations understand the causes of the Holocaust and reflect upon its consequences. We vow to remember the victims of Nazi persecution and of all genocides
‘We value the sacrifices of those who have risked their lives to protect or rescue victims, as a touchstone of the human capacity for good in the face of evil
‘We recognise that humanity is still scarred by the belief that race, religion, disability or sexuality make some people’s lives worth less than others’. Genocide, anti-semitism, racism, xenophobia and discrimination still continue. We have a shared responsibility to fight these evils.
‘We pledge to strengthen our efforts to promote education and research about the Holocaust and other genocides. We will do our utmost to make sure that the lessons of such events are fully learned
‘We will continue to encourage Holocaust remembrance by holding an annual UK Holocaust Memorial Day. We condemn the evils of prejudice, discrimination and racism. We value a free, respectful, and democratic society
Paul Salver, leading practitioner at Sir Herbert Leon Academy, who has worked with hundreds of Leon students at HMD events for nearly 20 years, will talk about the Srebenica massacre, when thousands of men and boys were killed, during the Bosnian War.
Other highlights of the commemorative event will include ‘Eli, Eli’, ‘Yiheyu L’Ratson’, and selected readings – performed by the MK & District Synagogue Choir.
The service will conclude with a reading of the famous poem ‘They Came For Me’ by Pastor Martin Niemoller – performed by the students from Denbigh School.