By Aalia Khan
Tuesday 27th January marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history.
From 1941 to 1945 the dreadful genocide brought about the killing of approximately six million Jews and an additional five million non-Jewish victims, including one million children, gypsies, Poles, communists, homosexuals, Soviet POWs and the mentally and physically disabled.
In remembrance of the liberation of the concentration death camp Holocaust Memorial Day ceremonies are carried out throughout the world to remind people to keep the memory of the victims alive. As such Bradford also paid their respects on this day and a Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony was carried out in City Hall as well as a candle light vigil in City Park.
The turnout at both the ceremonies was tremendous and the Lord Mayor of Bradford Councillor Mike Gibbons said “The ceremony is very important and it was good to see so many people here remembering those who are unable to remember as the ability was taken from them. And I think it is important that we continue to do that for them. At the end of the day whatever religion or faith; they’ve all been represented here today and they are all individuals. The turnout was superb and it seems to grow year on year, as the years go on the vivid memories may start to fail but the stories must go on.”
The City Hall remembrance ceremony included; a poem from Paris Tyrell from Dixons City Academy, songs sung by Lapage primary school pupils, guest speaker Orianne Brown; Regional Ambassador for the Holocaust Educational Trust, violinist Mark Ostyn, a poem read by Catherine Benson, a mourning song by Rudi Leavor from the Bradford Synagogue, candles were lit by people from different faiths and backgrounds who affirmed to bear witness that the horrors of the Holocaust will never be forgotten and a minutes silence was then conducted.
In attendance were also councillors from different wards in Bradford. Cllr Ralph Berry said “It was very, very moving and I am very impressed by the contributions by everyone and it is making sure that we never forget. If we don’t stand up to challenge prejudices, sooner or later you’ll find yourself on your own and everybody is against you.”
Ayub Laher from Jamiat-e-ulema Britain came as a representative from the Muslim community, he said it is important to support all people in the community and “They are all Allah’s creations. All communities need to work together for the common good and if we have peace in our home ground that peace will emanate outward to other people. It is good to remember in such ceremonies as it opens a human’s mind of injustice from one human to another.”
Rudy Leavor said the ceremony was very moving and the Muslim who has recently joined the City’s synagogue council was instigated by Rudy, he said “I’ve known Jani Rashid for 15 or more years and having already got very close relations with the Muslims and the City it was time that he could join the synagogue council and we could have the value of his considerations.”
MP David Ward, who also attended, said “On Holocaust Memorial Day it’s imperative that we share the memory of the millions who have been murdered in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Palestine, Bosnia and Darfur in order to challenge hatred and persecution wherever it resides today. The commemoration provides an opportunity for everyone to pause and take a moment to really think about lessons from the Holocaust, and subsequent genocides in order to ensure, where possible that such atrocities cannot happen again and help create a safer, better future for us all.”