South Tyneside Remembers Holocaust Victims
South Tyneside paid tribute to genocide victims today (Friday 27 January) with community representatives and schoolchildren coming together to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
The memorial service held at South Shields Town Hall included prayers and poems led by Father Mark Mawhinney, Leader of South Tyneside Council, Councillor Tracey Dixon, community representative Margaret Gregg and Jarrow MP Kate Osbourne.
Children from Westoe Crown and Hadrian primary schools also played a 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 Pat Hay, who was joined by the Mayoress, Jean Copp, 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 reminds us how quickly hatred and division can take hold and gives us an opportunity to pause and reflect upon the 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."
The ceremony included the lighting of candles by representatives of the community.
Holocaust Memorial Day is the international day of remembrance for the millions of people murdered in the Holocaust, under Nazi persecution, and in the genocides that followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.
The theme for this year's Holocaust Memorial Day is Ordinary People. It reflects how genocide is facilitated by ordinary people. Ordinary people were involved in all aspects of the Holocaust, Nazi persecution or other groups and in subsequent genocides.
Ordinary people were perpetrators, bystanders, rescuers and witnesses. Victims were persecuted simply because they were also ordinary people who belonged to a particular group.
For further information about Holocaust Memorial Day visit www.hmd.org.uk