ELL boroughs mark Holocaust Memorial Day

Pic: Hackney Council

As a tribute to Holocaust Memorial Day and those affected by genocides, Eastlondonlines councils hosted ceremonies with performances from Jewish School choirs, speeches from Holocaust survivors and virtual cook-along activities. 

‘Fragility of Freedom’ was the theme of this year’s ceremony as decided by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.


The ceremony was attended by Mayor Caroline Woodley, councillors and members of the community at the council chamber on January 29. 

Speakers presented speeches, shared memories, and read poems to remember the lives lost during the Holocaust and subsequent genocides that followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur. 

The live-streamed event began with a performance from The Simon Marks Jewish Primary School choir, after that many speeches were made, and poems were read out as a tribute to those affected by the genocides. 

“Whatever our faith, we must not forget what has happened to those who are as human as we are.” 

Councillor Ian Rathbone of Lea Bridge.

Councillor Ian Rathbone of Lea Bridge, who pioneered the program into Hackney Council in 2002, spoke at the ceremony about how HMD was first established in his borough.

“Whatever our faith, we must not forget what has happened to those who are as human as we are.” 

Woodley spoke about the council’s aims to ensure the whole community is respected and looked after. 

“We will welcome those fleeing danger, we will celebrate the respectful borough we live in, and we will take decisive action against those who act with hate and prejudice.”

Woodley said remembrance of those affected by genocide was greatly important today.

“I’m grateful for this opportunity to remember all those who have lost their lives and livelihoods, they should never be forgotten,” she added. 

BCU Commander, DCS James Conway said the police are committed to confronting all types of hate crime in Hackney and tackling antisemitism ideologies has been “a critical mission for policing”.

Mayor, Caroline Woodley (back), Speaker of Hackney, Councillor Anya Sizer (front) presenting flowers to the Holocaust Memorial Day Plaque. Pic: Hackney Council. 

Find the link to the live stream here.


Mayor Tony Pearson, and Marilyn Arbisman of Croydon Synagogue both gave a speech on remembering the event, which was attended by residents and councillors, at Croydon Town Hall on January 26.

Family stories were told from third and second-generation descendants of Holocaust survivors courtesy of Generation 2 Generation.

Whitgift School performed music from Schindler’s List on the string quartet. On Twitter, they said they were “honoured” to perform.

Tower Hamlets

Tower Hamlets Council said on Twitter: “Let us all think about what we can do to confront hatred and reinforce freedoms in our communities and around the world.” 

They directed to the events on Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. 

One event was a cook-along activity, making Challah (braided Jewish bread) and Ibirayi N’Amashaza (Rwandan spicy vegetable stew).


Lewisham Council did not host a ceremony, but on their Twitter, they directed people to watch the UK ceremony, which featured curated moments of music, poems, speeches, films, and survivor testimony. 

Holocaust Memorial Day is a ceremony to remember the millions of people murdered under Nazi persecution and in the genocides which followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.

It marked the moment when the Auschwitz murder camp was liberated by the Allies on January 27, 1945.

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