Holocaust Memorial Day: ‘By standing shoulder to shoulder we can make a difference’ says Gants Hill Rabbi
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“By standing shoulder to shoulder, we can make a difference and we will make a difference,” said Rabbi Sufrin.
The faith leader of Chabad Lubavitch in Gants Hill, was speaking at the Holocaust Memorial Day event at Valentines Park, Cranbrook Road Ilford, this morning.
He was joined by hundreds of people from every section of community, young and old, representatives from the council, the borough’s schools and faith groups.
The event in park’s Holocaust Memorial Garden honoured the lives of millions of people who died in the Holocaust and other atrocities around the world.
“Through memory, testimony, poetry and art, survivors have led us to ensure the memory never dies,” said council leader, Jas Athwal.
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“On Holocaust Memorial Day everyone should stand together with genocide survivors and those who have been the victim of identity-based hate, to support them to believe that their life can go on.”
The service, opened by the Redbridge Mayor, Cllr Gurdial Bhamra, featured hymns sung by the combined choirs of the South West Essex and Resettlement Reform Synagogue and Ilford United Synagogue.
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The mayor’s chaplain Mankamal Singh recited an extract from moving poem, The Creed by Holocaust survivor Alexander Kimel: “When man will stop killing man in the name of God.
“And nation will not lift weapon against nation, when it will happen I do not know but despite all the signs to the contrary, in the dawn of a better world I do believe.”
The mayor told the community in the last century 18 genocides have taken place and up to 28 million people have been killed.
Rabbi Hyman of the Ilford Synagogue added: “We remember what happens when hate takes the heart and turns it into stone.
“We might not have the ability to change the past but we can change the future.
“We can remember the lives [lost] and make sure that their memory lives on so that their deaths are not in vain.”
School pupils told moving stories of Holocaust survivors including that of Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel.
Wreaths were laid in the memorial garden and pupils concluded the ceremony by reading the Statement of Commitment – a series of pledges – that remind us to remember the Holocaust and genocides in Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia, Kosovo and Darfur.
Ilford North MP, Wes Streeting said: “It was such a cold day but it was fantastic to see so many children there and old people despite the weather.
“It was a really powerful and poignant event.”