Prayers and poems in Ilford as Holocaust’s victims remembered

WREATHS were laid in Redbridge’s Holocaust Memorial Garden on Thursday to honour the millions who died under Nazi persecution.

A memorial service was held in Valentines Park, Ilford which was attended by religious leaders, and councillors, school children and hundreds of residents.

They were joined by survivor Baruch Obuchowski who reflected on his time spent in a concentration camp and spoke of the importance of keeping the memories alive.

He said: “As the generation who witnessed what happened firsthand dies out, it is vital we continue to mark this day and get the message across.”

Youngsters from Clore Tikva Primary School, Barkingside, St Augustine’s Catholic Primary School, Gants Hill, Loxford School, Ilford and King Solomon High School, Barkingside took turns at reciting poems before handing over to religious leaders.

Prayers were read by Fr Austin McCormack of St Thomas of Canterbury Church, Woodford Green, Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin of the Chabad Lubavitch Centre and Rabbi Geoffrey Hyman, of Ilford United Synagogue.

There were also musical performances from Ilford United Synagogue, Gants Hill and choirs from South Essex and Settlement Reform Synagogue, Newbury Park.

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The Mayor of Redbridge Cllr Jim O’Shea, who opened and closed the service, said: “There was a huge turn out for the event which I was delighted with because it means lots of people care.

“The highlight for me was the talk from Mr Obuchowski who spoke so candidly about his experiences

“It was a very moving occasion and finished with a light falling of snow which I thought was a nice touch.”

Holocaust Memorial Day is held every January 27 – the date in 1945 that saw the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp by the Soviet Union.

Victims of genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and the ongoing atrocities in Darfur are also remembered.