Children remember lessons of the Holocaust

27 January 2012 in Education and Mayor and Young people
More than 300 people – mainly schoolchildren – gathered at Newham Town Hall in East Ham to remember the crimes, racism and victimisation committed during the Holocaust against millions of Jewish men, women and children as well as other atrocities since.
The theme for this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day event was Speak Up, Speak Out, which encourages people to stand up to all forms of persecution and genocide and challenge those who seek to deny the Holocaust.

Mayor Sir Robin Wales was joined by Gillian Walnes MBE, chief executive of the Anne Frank Trust, who gave an account of why her work was still relevant more than 60 years after the end of the Second World War.

Sir Robin said: “Remembering the Holocaust is our opportunity to learn the lessons of this horrific event which took millions of innocent lives simply because some people were seen to be different from others.

“We are a democratic and tolerant borough that stands together because we know it makes our community stronger; stronger against racism, prejudice and other forms of bigotry. The Holocaust reminds us of what can happen when prejudices are allowed to develop. We should learn the lessons of the past and vow to never let anything like it happen again.”

The event featured recitals by Joseph Afolabi from St Luke’s Primary School, Tafsia Sikdar from Sarah Bonnell School, Rahul Arora from North Beckton Primary School and Momana Ijaz from Sarah Bonnell School. Other schools to attend included Calverton, Central Park, Dersingham, Gainsborough and North Beckton primaries and Cumberland Secondary.

There was a one-minute silence followed a candle lighting ceremony led by Sir Robin and David Gold, chairman of West Ham United, Gillian Walnes, West Ham MP Lyn Brown, East Ham MP Stephen Timms, and John Biggs, London Assembly member for City and East.

Little Ilford School pupils delivered a performance of The Feather, a drama based on prejudice, suffering and oppression, inspired by the experiences of Holocaust survivor Ziggi Shipper.

The ceremony was concluded with a reading of I Cannot Forget written by Holocaust survivor Alexander Kimel and read by Councillor Jo Corbett.