Holocaust Memorial Day in Poole attracted more people than ever before and heard testimony from a Holocaust survivor
Janine Webber is a survivor. She was forced to live in a ghetto in Poland during the Second World War and lost her parents and brother during the Nazi occupation.
At Saturday’s event at The Lighthouse she explained to The Breaker why she supports Holocaust Memorial Day. She believes there is still intolerance in the world and by telling people her story she hopes to get her message across to the next generation. “It’s the young people who will make the world a little better and I hope they will have less prejudice.”
The audience included leaders from Jewish, black, Muslim, gay, Christian and Humanist communities. It is estimated that nearly 600 people attended, an increase from last year’s figure of 175. Event organiser Lynda Ford-Horne, from Branksome, said: “We’ve already started building bridges.”[one_half]The event began with the lighting of six candles in memory of those killed in the genocide. Holocaust Memorial Day, which began in 2001, marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp by the Soviet Army, 68 years ago on 27 January 2013.
In a reading from Mrs.Webber, who now lives with her family in England, she described losing her parents and younger brother during the war.[/one_half] [one_half_last][/one_half_last]
“The conditions in the ghetto were terrible, they were hanging people and forcing people to watch them. There was starvation…there were children lying on the pavement dead”, she said. “Unfortunately there is so much injustice and cruelty and persecution…sometimes I despair. My hope is that [young people] will make the world better.”[one_half][/one_half] [one_half_last]The memorial also featured a dramatic performance from the Forest Forge Youth Theatre, of Ringwood, devised by Carl Woodward. “Everybody here has met new people”, he said, “everybody has built bridges.”
Representative of the local Muslim community, Jahn Hempstead, said that communities are building bridges, particularly in this area. He said: “All of the faiths get together and explore various avenues for peace and moving forward as a team.”[/one_half_last]
The closing words came from Maggie Pepin, a humanist funeral director in Bournemouth and Pool. She said: “We believe in different things…but the one thing we do have in common is that, irrespective of persuasion or belief, we are all human beings.”
Holocaust Memorial Day also honours the persecuted and killed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.
Main image by Joshua Longmore