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St Helens Borough stands together for Holocaust Memorial Day, 75 years on since Auschwitz-Birkenau liberation

Article date - 27 January 2020

A poignant service was held in St Helens Town Hall today (27 January) to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day 2020.

Held every year, Holocaust Memorial Day falls on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, with this year’s commemoration holding extra significance as it marks 75 years since the liberation of the concentration camp where more than a million people died.

In total, six million Jewish men, women and children were murdered in the Holocaust – while millions of others were killed in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.

The town hall event saw pupils from the borough’s schools perform musical and dance pieces, and recite readings based on this year’s theme ‘Stand Together’ in front of a packed audience, with the Mayor of St Helens Janet Johnson and senior councillors including Council Leader Councillor David Baines among those in attendance.

Speaking after the ceremony, St Helens Council’s portfolio holder for events, culture and heritage, Councillor Anthony Burns - who spoke at the event - said:

“Holocaust Memorial Day provides us with an opportunity for all of our communities to come together, to not only honour the survivors who suffered in the Holocaust under Nazi persecution, but it's also a chance to look to our own lives and communities today.

"We must never forget the millions who lost their lives, and we must learn from the past to reflect and fight for a peaceful future. The wonderful music and drama performances we heard today from students across the borough were a timely reminder that atrocious events such as this don't start with gas chambers but with words. We must do all we can to eradicate hate crime and to promote community cohesion and respect for one another regardless of our religion race or colour."

Continuing Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations in St Helens, throughout this week and next, residents can view a hugely popular exhibition on loan from the Jewish Museum in London.

‘The Promise’ – which tells the story of Holocaust survivor Eva Schloss and her brother Heinz, who quelled his fears by writing poetry and painting artwork - will be on show at Rainhill Library from 27-31 January before moving onto Billinge Library where it can be viewed from 3-6 February.