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Pictures and video: Stroud marks Holocaust Memorial Day

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Stroud marked Holocaust Memorial Day, the 79th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, at Lansdown Hall, the event conducted by Rev Steve Saville, Curate of Stroud Parish Churches.

Speakers included Baron Mendes da Costa from 3 Counties Liberal Jewish Community, Hassan MG from Masjid-E-Noor Mosque, Jeremy Green from Community Solidarity Stroud District, family carer Jacky Martel, Andy Wooley from Stroud Trades Council, Caroline Beattie from Stroud District Together With Refugees, and Midge Purcell from Stroud Against Racism.

Holocaust Memorial Day 2024 19 | Pictures and video: Stroud marks Holocaust Memorial Day
Midge Purcell from Stroud Against Racism.

Music was provided by Stroud Red Band and The Grove Singers.

James Beecher from Community Solidarity Stroud District which organised the event said: “As someone much younger than the generation of survivors or even children of survivors – and with no family connection to the Holocaust myself, even though my mum is Jewish, I feel it is important to close what Primo Levi – who survived the Auschwitz camp – calls ‘the gap that exists and grows wider every year between things as they were down there and things as they are represented by the current imagination fed by approximate books, films and myths [which] slides fatally toward simplification and stereotype’.

Holocaust Memorial Day 2024 13 | Pictures and video: Stroud marks Holocaust Memorial Day
Rev Steve Saville, Curate of Stroud Parish Churches.

“I feel it is important for us all to be aware of the horrors humans are capable of, in particular the justifications people are able to create for themselves that allow them to continue to think of themselves as good, or in pursuit of a grand vision, even as they dehumanise others or behave in monstrous ways.”

“As Jeremy Green said in his speech at the event: “We mark this day in the hope that memory and understanding will help to prevent such slaughter in the future, and to give courage to those who resist. This year’s Holocaust Memorial Day presents even more challenges than most.

Holocaust Memorial Day 2024 16 | Pictures and video: Stroud marks Holocaust Memorial Day
Jeremy Green from Community Solidarity Stroud District

“We see a rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia around the world. We are living in the fallout from the Hamas attack into Israel on October 7th last year – involving the largest killing of Jewish civilians since the Holocaust itself – 685 civilians, including 36 children. 132 Israeli citizens are still held hostage; 25 have died in captivity. We are also living in the fallout from the retaliation ordered by Netanyahu’s Israeli government, which has killed tens of thousands – including thousands of children.”

Jeremy concluded by saying “The call that goes out from each Holocaust Commemoration event is ‘Never Again’. Let’s pledge that this means never again for anyone. The Jewish experience of racism and our liberatory traditions impel us always to fight against oppression and act in solidarity with the oppressed.”

Pictures by Matt Bigwood

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