Stand Together: Camden unites to mark Holocaust Memorial Day
- Credit: Archant
Communities across north London held events to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
Jewish Community Centre London (JW3), in Finchley Road, hosted a series of speeches, readings and musical performances to commemorate 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland. Candles were lit and survivor stories told of the horrors endured during the Nazi Holocaust, during which approximately 6million Jews were killed.
Darren Shipman spoke of how his Jewish grandfather, aged 10, had his school closed down by the Nazis before he and his town's Jewish population of 160,000 in Lodz, Poland, were sent to a ghetto in desperate, dire condition.
"All Jews were forced to work," Mr Shipman said.
"As more and more Jews were crammed into the ghettos from surrounding areas, other Jews, less able to work were sent to camps and their deaths.
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"On one occasion my grandfather was rounded up and put on a lorry, but he managed to escape and hide. He managed somehow to survive, working and living in appalling, squalid conditions, until the ghetto was finally liquidated in 1944. All surviving inhabitants were loaded in to cattle cars where conditions were indescribable and with no knowledge of their final destination."
South Hampstead Synagogue, in Eton Road, marked Holocaust Memorial Day with Stand Together, a week of exhibitions, education and discussion.
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From January 26-30, a series of commemorative events was held to foster principles of tolerance and understanding from people of all faiths and backgrounds across Camden.
South Hampstead Synagogue executive director Rabbi Eli Levin said: "The people who attend will say 'we learned about the synagogue, we learned about the genocide, we learned about healing a fractured world, and about Judaism and religion in the UK'."
Camden Council leader Georgia Gould, who was in attendance, said: "The message from stories of extraordinary survivors Safet Vukalic and Lili Pohlmann tonight was to never be a bystander, to open our hearts to refugees and to honour the victims by making never again a vow to future generations. Thanks to South Hampstead Synagogue for helping us Stand Together."