Standing together to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive
Emotional and powerful stories of those who suffered persecution were told during Bury’s annual Holocaust memorial event.
Young and old from across society attended the 18th local remembrance which was held at the Longfield Suite in Prestwich.
The occasion marked 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and also the 25th anniversary of the genocide in Bosnia.
The theme of this year’s memorial was Standing Together, and visitors to the Prestwich event heard about those who stood up to Nazi tyranny in spite of the risks to themselves.
These stories included that of Master Sergeant Roddie Edmond, an American soldier who risked his life and saved 200 Jewish POWs; Maximillian Kolbe, a Catholic saint who willingly took another’s place in a starvation bunker and who ultimately lost his life through lethal injection; and Abraham Pawloski, a survivor of the Holocaust who lived due to the support of a German soldier who fed him and kept him alive throughout the Second World War.
The High Sheriff of Greater Manchester, Mark Isaac Adlestone OBE DL, spoke about the need for education, saying “we must understand differences, learn to appreciate and enjoy them, and then learn to grow from them”.
Members from a number of faith groups and a representative from Remembering Srebrenica Northwest provided personal reflections. The Whitefield Shul Choir sang and musical pieces were performed by Bury Music Service.
A number of local primary school pupils took part in lessons based on the Holocaust. They decorated life-size cut-outs of people which were displayed at the memorial event showing images of the Holocaust as well as of people standing together against hate.
Council leader Cllr David Jones signed the Statement of Commitment, based on the principles of the 2000 Stockholm declaration, which outlines the need to remember the Holocaust, make future generations aware of it, to recognise the sacrifice of those that risked their lives to save others and to pledge to promote education and research about the Holocaust and other genocides.
Councillor Trevor Holt, the Mayor of Bury, said: “Every year it is important to remember those that were lost during the Holocaust and other genocides, but this event highlighted something just as significant; the power that each one of us have to stand-up against hate and bigotry. I hope that everyone who attended will take away this powerful message and continue to ensure Bury is a place where people from all walks of life feel safe and secure.”