Holocaust Memorial Day Service – 27th January

This year, which marks the 70th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, also marks several other significant anniversaries. It is 40 years since the start of the genocide in Cambodia, during which over 2 million people died; it is 21years since those terrible 100 days in Rwanda when between 500,000 and 1 million lost their lives; it is also 20 years since the genocide and ethnic cleansing took place in Bosnia.

This year Havant Council has been chosen by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust to host one of 70 candles specially designed to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.  A prominent resident of the Borough, Steven Schrier was asked, along with Erin Stott and Sam Chadwick, pupils from Oaklands School to light this candle.   These pupils were chosen because they had recently visited the concentration camps at Auschwitz.

I read extracts from a beautiful poem “I was There” by Iby Knill who was a concentration camp survivor. Other readings were given by Ben Ayres a representative from the gypsy community, Reverend Pennie Payne (who discovered in recent years that some of her family had been subjected to the gas chambers), Mark Mills-Goodlet the Assistant Provincial Grand Master of the Freemasons, Councillors Gerald Shimbart and Leah Turner.

This was a very moving service the theme of which was “Keeping the Memory Alive” and by involving local schools we hope that indeed this will happen.

Holocaust Memorial

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