Holocaust Memorial Day is the International Day of Remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust and other genocides. Monday marked 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, as well as the 25th anniversary of the Genocide in Bosnia. The theme for this year was ‘Stand Together’. Children from local schools sang beautiful songs with this theme in mind.
The ceremony took place in the Council Chamber at the Town Hall in Hackney. It included songs, readings and heartbreaking recollections from Harry Olmer 92, a holocaust survivor, followed by the laying of a floral tribute at the Holocaust Memorial Tree in the Town Hall Square in Mare Street.
Harry Olmer gave his account of the exhausting and dangerous work he was forced to do by the Germans while he was held in concentration camps in Poland and Germany. He told his account “of the men and those incapable of working were shot immediately and the women and children sent by train to Bełżec extermination camp, where they were murdered on arrival.”
The Speaker, Councillor Kam Adams, who led the ceremony, said: “It is important to have this memorial to remember the victims of this atrocity and to be able to prevent it happening again in the future.”
Nicola Baboneau from Hackney Safer Neighbourhood Board said: “I volunteer to organize the event because in my heart I feel it is one of the most important events in the calendar. It’s important because we look back and we look at today, the divisions in society and the growth of hatred we know that society here is changing, all across the world we need to come together and look forward with hope.”