A nation remembers and educates

January 29, 2009
Follow The JC on Twitter
Student Lauren Arenson at an HMD memorial in Bristol

Student Lauren Arenson at an HMD memorial in Bristol

Northwood’s four-day HMD programme — the largest of its type in the UK — launched on Monday with the first group from the anticipated 2,000 secondary school pupils and teachers from Harrow, Hillingdon and Hertsmere.

Organised jointly by the Northwood United and Liberal shuls, the scheme is in its eighth year. Many civic leaders were at the opening, where survivor Ziggy Shipper preached against hatred.

Totalling 18 sessions this year, the Northwood initiative has become a template for other UK activities. Students hear testimony from survivors before joining workshops run by trained facilitators. They are encouraged to take personal responsibility for making a difference.

“Their first step,” explained a spokesman, “is to act as an ambassador for the survivors and pass on their stories to family and friends. They also share their experiences and commitment through the event’s Facebook group — Northwood HMD Pass It On.”

In one of the Holocaust Educational Trust’s HMD events, Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks and survivor Mala Tribich took part in an assembly at the Lady Margaret School in Parsons Green, South-West London, on Tuesday morning.

Over 400 students and guests including Hammersmith and Fulham MP Greg Hands heard Sir Jonathan discuss the lessons to be learned from the Shoah and Mrs Tribich recount her wartime experiences. A book of commitment to remember victims of all genocides and to repudiate all forms of discrimination was signed by the speakers and pupils were encouraged to add their names.

Cohesion Minister Sadiq Khan toured the Holocaust Centre in Nottinghamshire on Monday, meeting survivors and witnessing the launch of the History Speaks project — an online resource giving access to survivors’ stories. The minister also brought news of £24,000 in state funding.

“The government remains strongly committed to honouring the memory of those who suffered as a result of the Holocaust and to supporting communities in Britain today to do all they can to challenge hatred, bigotry and intolerance,” he said.

Rabbi Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah conducted a service at Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue attended by 100 people and a Brighton and Hove Ajex commemoration at the Holocaust memorial in Meadow View cemetery. Guests at the Worthing Jewish community service included the mayor, Councillor Christine Brown, and Imam Idris Nawab. Rabbi Charles Wallach officiated. Seventy people were at a service organised by Eastbourne Council of Christians and Jews and conducted by chairman Sheila Forman.

Ulster TV presenter Paul Clark was master of ceremonies for the Northern Ireland HMD event at the Braid Town Hall in Ballymena. The 300 guests saw survivor Inge Radford light a memorial candle.

Addressing Scotland’s HMD service at Paisley Town Hall, East Renfrewshire MP Jim Murphy said: “It is only by remembering the horrific crimes, racism and victimisation of both the Holocaust and more recent genocides that we can hope to prevent such tragedies from recurring.”

In Bristol, a lunchtime student event involved over 60 students and an evening memorial was attended by 100 people. The latter was organised by Eva Fielding-Jackson, the daughter of two dea, Hungarian survivors, who works as a youth disability officer for Bristol City Council.

Trude Silman was the keynote speaker at North Tyneside Council’s HMD gathering. The 80-year-old told the 400-strong audience about life under the Nazis and her involvement in the Holocaust Survivors’ Friendship Association.

An outdoor civic service at Hertsmere’s civic offices was attended by the mayor, Councillor Sandra Parnell, council leader Councillor Morris Bright, local clergy and school representatives. Mayoral chaplain Rabbi Alan Plancey led a two-minute silence.

Symbolic black balloons were released at the Welwyn Hatfield Council service at the Reiss memorial. The memorial honours Richard Reiss, a non-Jewish philanthropist who helped Jews to escape Nazi Germany.

Brent’s programme included The Road to Belsen, an exhibition created by the Rev Gershon Glausiusz, a Bergen-Belsen survivor. In Ealing, a memorial tree was planted outside the council offices and a local authority art gallery staged an exhibition on Anne Frank. Survivor Gena Turgel spoke at Edgware Masorti Synagogue.

    Last updated: 11:34am, July 8 2009