Horrors of Holocaust for many minorities remembered at moving civic service in Stevenage

Dignitaries gather to mark Holocaust Memorial Day at Stevenage Borough Council's hedaquarters on Thu

Dignitaries gather to mark Holocaust Memorial Day at Stevenage Borough Council's hedaquarters on Thursday. - Credit: Archant

Dignitaries, councillors and representatives of the Stevenage community joined together for a poignant civic service to mark Holocauset Memorial Day on Thursday.

The annual event, which was organised by Stevenage Borough Council and supported by Stevenage Central Library and the Stevenage Liberal Synagogue, was a chance to remember the millions lost in the Nazi holocaust in the Second World War, and other genocides throughout history.

Town mayor, councillor John Lloyd and his guests were joined by Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire Robert Voss CBE, council leader Sharon Taylor OBE, Stevenage youth mayor Emma Chapman, mayors from neighbouring towns, fellow councillors and local religious leaders at the council’s offices in Danestrete, to take part in the civic service and light memorial candles.

Mr Voss gave a moving speech about his family’s roots in Nazi Germany telling how some escaped and how one set of his grandparents were murdered in a Nazi concentration camp.

Youth Mayor Emma Chapman read a well received poem on the theme of compassion and Emily Jurman Rabbi of Stevenage Liberal Synagogue, sang a Jewish song.

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Representatives of Hertfordshire’s traveller and gypsy communities were also present and gave a speech urging people not to forget the hundreds of thousands of Romany gypsies murdered in the Nazi Holocaust.

Closing remarks were made by Terry Wolfe, the synagogue’s secretary.

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Mr Lloyd said afterwards: “We’re pleased that so many people from different cultures and religions attended Holocaust Memorial Day to show the town’s strong sense of community to remember and honour those that have been lost in the atrocities of the holocaust and other genocides.”

The theme for this year’s HMD, ‘How can life go on?’ encouraged people to think about what happens after genocide and of our own responsibilities in the wake of such crimes. For more information on HMD and details of the national campaign, visit HMD.org.uk.

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