I was privileged to be among the many people who took part in this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day service at Valentines Park on Friday 27 January.
Councillor Prince, Leader of the Council, gives a speech on “Speak Up , Speak out” , the theme of Holocaust Memorial Day 2012
The Holocaust is an incredibly harrowing subject and I am proud that we were joined by so many residents and more than 300 of the Borough’s schoolchildren to remember the those who died in the atrocities and to commit that we would learn from the past so such acts may never be repeated in the future.
The service, which was presided by Councillor Alan Weinberg, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, was very moving, featuring readings from the Borough’s students, the Mayor’s Chaplain Reverend Dr Liz Horwell, from Christ Church, Wanstead and prayers from the Rabbi I G Hyman from Ilford United Synagogue.
There were also speeches from the Mayor, Councillor Chris Cummins, a poem from Maria Leier, a member of the Roma Support Group, and an incredibly touching first hand account of the horrors of Auschwitz from Ivor Perl, a Holocaust Survivor.
The crowd, which included MPs Mike Gapes and Lee Scott and Councillor Jas Athwal, Leader of Redbridge Labour Group, also heard a hymn from the combined choirs of the South West Essex and Resettlement Reform Synagogue and Ilford United Synagogue.
The theme of this years Holocaust Survival Day was “Speak Up, Speak Out” which encourages us to speak out against discrimination. This isn’t a message to be taken lightly.
We can each do our bit to ensure that racism, discrimination and xenophobia have no place in our society and I would encourage each of our residents and workers in Redbridge to speak out against any such behaviour to ensure that Redbridge can be a safe and happy place to live for people of all faiths and ethnicities.