Community representatives and schoolchildren from across South Tyneside came together this week for a poignant ceremony marking Holocaust Memorial Day.
The memorial service, which was held in South Shields Town Hall included an introduction by Canon John Miller as well as readings, poems and prayers led by Father Michael Weymes, the Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council, Councillor Alan Kerr and Dr Shobha Srivastava MBE.
Children from Westoe Crown and Hadrian primary schools also featured in the service where they placed 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 Ken Stephenson, who was joined by the Mayoress, Cathy Stephenson, said: "It is incredibly important to come together to remember all those who lost their lives, or were affected by such terrible atrocities against humanity.
"Holocaust Memorial Day provides an opportunity to honour the survivors and reflect upon the lessons of their experiences in the past to challenge hatred, racism and victimisation 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.
"Having local school children involved in the ceremony made the event all the more poignant."
The ceremony included the lighting of candles by representatives of the community.
Holocaust Memorial Day 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. This year is particularly poignant as 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda and the 20th anniversary of genocide in Cambodia.
The theme of this year's Holocaust Memorial Day was Torn from Home. It reflects on how the enforced loss of a safe place to call 'home' is part of the trauma faced by anyone experiencing persecution and genocide alongside the difficulties survivors face as they try to find and build new homes when genocide is over.