Families add their stories to memorial tree to help commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day at Stevenage Central Library

Families add their stories to the memorial tree to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day

Families add their stories to the memorial tree to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day - Credit: Archant

Families took time out to think about where they came from at a special event to mark Holocaust Memorial Day on Saturday.

Grandparents, parents and children went along to Stevenage Central Library to make labels to pin on a special memorial tree describing the journey their families went on before they came to Hertfordshire. More than 100 people added their stories to the tree and looked at a special exhibition about the Holocaust.

The aim was to get people thinking about what it’s like to be a refugee or an excluded minority.

Organiser Jacqueline Beattie, a member of the North Herts Liberal Jewish Community, said: “Using the tree is a very gentle way of getting people engaged rather than trying to just go up to them and start talking about the Holocaust.

“It’s good for people to think about where their families came from as many people don’t really know.

“What happened with the Holocaust in Nazi Germany was that the authorities turned a blind eye, so it’s really great that our authorities here like the council and the libraries are getting involved.

“It’s very important that people understand racism and sexism and the other causes that led towards genocide, not just in the Second World War, but all the others that have happened since.”

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HMD events in Stevenage have been organised by Stevenage Borough Council and supported by Hertfordshire County Libraries service and the Stevenage Liberal Synagogue.

The commemorations culminate on Wednesday evening with a special service at Stevenage Borough Council’s Daneshill headquarters at 6.30pm.

HMD is an annual commemoration when the world remembers the six million victims of the Nazi Holocaust in the Second World War and the later genocides in Bosnia, Rwanda, Cambodia and Darfur.

It is organised across the globe by the HMD Trust.

The date was fixed to coincide with the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau by the Red Army on January 27 1945.