North Herts communities stand together for Holocaust Memorial Day in Letchworth
PUBLISHED: 15:32 28 January 2020 | UPDATED: 17:07 28 January 2020
Residents, community leaders and speakers from a variety of faiths across North Herts came together in Letchworth yesterday to remember the devastating impact of the Holocaust.
The event, held at Letchworth's Howard Park, marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and 25 years since the Bosnian genocide with the theme of 'standing together'.
North Herts District Council hosted the commemoration, with everyone gathering at the nearby council offices to walk together to Howard Park.
Rabbi Alan Garber from Shenley United Synagogue led the service with a moving introduction, referring to recent incidences of anti-semitism that he had experienced, making clear that we must be ever vigilant and ready to educate.
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Reflecting on the day, Rabbi Garber said: "What a special, uplifting, informing and empowering gathering we had for Holocaust Memorial Day in Letchworth Garden City! Although we focused and reflected on the tragedies of the Holocaust and the subsequent modern genocides, the overall message shared and experienced was what we can do to build a society based on unity and love in our mindset and actions."
Representatives from North Herts Interfaith Forum (NHIFF) - Chris Kell, Ali Sheriff, Bal Sandhu and Reverend Thomas O'Brien - also shared some words which echoed messages of the importance of unity and the coming together of people from different faiths, communities and cultures.
The representatives from NHIFF highlighted the dangers of marginalising certain groups and encouraged residents to have the courage to speak out if they see this happening.
The talks were followed by the reading of poems by Hitchin school pupil Imogen Lowe and Letchworth-based poet John Gohorry. Imogen's poem, entitled 'Death' was selected as the winner of a poetry competition organised by NHDC.
Councillor Judi Billing, NHDC member for community engagement, said: "Holocaust Memorial Day reminds us of events in our recent history that continue to have an impact now on individuals, families and communities. As the daughter of a Jewish refugee from Hitler's Berlin, I regard it as vital that we never forget the horrors of genocide.
"I would like to thank everyone for supporting this local commemoration. The event was a powerful reminder about the need to stand together and respect each others differences."