South Tyneside Marks Holocaust Memorial Day
South Tyneside paid tribute to genocide victims today (Friday 26 January) with community representatives and schoolchildren coming together to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
The poignant memorial service, held at South Shields Town Hall was led by Lay Pastoral Minister Jacki Dunn and included prayers, psalms and poems. It was attended by community representatives including Leader of South Tyneside Council, Councillor Tracey Dixon, Council Chief Executive Jonathan Tew as well as MP for South Shields, Emma Lewell-Buck and MP for Jarrow, Kate Osbourne.
The ceremony included the lighting of candles by representatives of the community.
Children from Westoe Crown and Hadrian primary schools also played a key role in the service, placing leaves on a special Tree of Life, with each leaf making a pledge for what they will do to help 'keep the memory alive'.
The Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor John McCabe, said: "Holocaust Memorial Day is an incredibly important occasion in which we come together to remember the millions of people who have been murdered, have seen their lives changed beyond recognition or were affected by such terrible atrocities against humanity.
"The day provides us with an opportunity to honour the survivors and reminds us how quickly hatred and division can take hold. It also reminds us how fragile freedom is, how quickly it can be removed or restricted and highlights the importance of maintaining and protecting freedoms for all.
"It is important that we reflect upon past experiences to challenge hatred and persecution today and in the future. With the passing of time there is always a concern that the stories of those affected by genocide might be lost.
"Our younger generation have a key role to play in helping to keep alive the memories of those lost and ensuring these atrocities are never repeated. Their involvement makes the event all the more poignant."
Holocaust Memorial Day (27 January) is the international day of remembrance for victims of the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and more recent acts of genocide in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.
The theme of this year's Holocaust Memorial Day is Fragility of Freedom.It reflects on how freedom is fragile and vulnerable to abuse, and how easily freedoms can be lost or stolen and how, even when they are regained, life may never be the same again.
For further information about Holocaust Memorial Day visit www.hmd.org.uk