On the eve of Yom Hashoah, participants in Holocaust Educational Trust projects attended a special event at the Scottish Parliament.
Students travelled from across the region to talk to MSPs about their experiences on the Scottish Government-funded HET's Lessons from Auschwitz project which takes post-16 pupils on a visit to the Nazi death camp. Other guests included survivors Henry and Ingrid Wuga, and Judy Russell, daughter of the late Holocaust survivor and Shoah educator Ernest Levy, who spoke about the importance of ensuring that future generations understand what took place during the Holocaust.
Dr Alasdair Allan MSP, who visited Auschwitz-Birkenau last November with the HET, said he had "valued the opportunity to take part in a visit to Auschwitz with students". Karen Pollock, HET chief executive, said: "We are delighted to have such cross-party support to hear about the impact of our work in Scottish schools."
Fettes College in Edinburgh welcomed Hephzibah Rudofsky and her mother, Bergen Belson survivor Lady Zehava Kohn, who spoke to 150 pupils. Ms Rudofsky said the pupils "were vocal in their appreciation". Glasgow Jewish Representative Council hosted a Yom Hashoah service at Giffnock Synagogue where survivor Agnes Grunwald-Spier spoke about her book The Other Schindlers to the 250-strong audience. Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation held a civic Yom Hashoah service at the War Memorial in Princes Street Gardens. Attendees included members of Edinburgh Liberals.
At Dublin Hebrew Congregation, 50 people heard readings by pupils of Stratford College which was followed by a screening of the film The Children of Chabannes, which tells the story of how villagers in unoccupied France saved 400 Jewish refugee children.
The theme of childhood in the Shoah threaded its way through a Yom Hashoah service at Leeds Etz Chaim Synagogue. The ceremony, attended by Lord Mayor Rev Alan Taylor, included other faith members who took part in an educational trip to Poland. Dr Che Seabourne of St George's Church said the group gained a harrowing experience of human tragedy.
"We also gained a perspective on incredible acts of bravery shown by people who were being persecuted, and by Righteous Gentiles who said they were unwilling to have that happen in their name," he told the 300-strong gathering. Shoah child survivor Suzanne Ripton saw her personal testimony told through an interview filmed by Makor.
Close to 100 people attended a service at Brighton and Hove Hebrew Congregation. Rabbi Hershel Rader officiated, with six candles lit by Shoah survivors or members of their families. Professor Gideon Reuveni of the Centre for German Jewish Studies spoke on teaching about the Shoah. At Brighton and Hove Progressive participants read from a booklet written by Rabbi Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah and also from their Czech scroll which was rescued from Frydek-Mistek. Brighton and Hove Reform marked the day with readings from a Shoah scroll.
More than 70 people attended Southend and Westcliff Hebrew Congregation for a Yom Hashoah service. Holocaust survivor Otto Deutsch showed a film about his return to Belarus in 2010. The audience raised £300 for the Yad Vashem Foundation.
Cheltenham Hebrew Congregation marked Yom Hashoah with a service and a reading of the prayer especially composed by Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks.
Five hundred people, including local mayors, attended the Hilton Suite in Prestwich for a Yom Hashoah service. It was held in dedication to Holocaust survivor Rebbetzin Marga Brodie, the late wife of Rev Gabriel Brodie, who died in December aged 90 after serving the Manchester Great and New Synagogue community for over 40 years. Among the guests was Reverend Brodie and their son, Rabbi Yehuda Brodie. Tania Nelson, the main event organiser, paid tribute to Marga Brodie. At a Yom Hashoah assembly at King David High students heard survivor Eva Neuman speak about her experiences in Auschwitz-Birkenau
Former Newcastle United defender John Anderson, who works with education charity Show Racism the Red Card, described his visit to Auschwitz as a teenager at a Yom Hashoah service at Newcastle United Synagogue. He told the 80-strong gathering that the visit "has had an everlasting effect" on his life. Dr Beate Muller described her work with child survivors and pupils from Benfield School spoke about their "six million paperclips" project.
More than 300 members of Mill Hill Synagogue marked Yom Hashoah by listening to Eva Schloss, posthumous step-sister of Anne Frank, in conversation with Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet. "It was not only her story, but also her delivery - her eloquence and lack of bitterness that captivated her audience," said a spokesperson afterwards.