Hundreds of people in Peterborough took time to remember the suffering and sacrifice of millions killed in the Holocaust today (27 January).
A special service was held at St John the Baptist Church, in Peterborough, to remember the victims of genocide, discrimination and oppression throughout the world.
Holocaust Memorial Day is commemorated internationally on 27 January and for several years Peterborough has held its own service offering a public and inter-faith act of remembrance.
This is not only to remember those lost during the Holocaust but also the many other acts of genocide, such as those in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo and Darfur.
Each year the Holocaust Memorial Trust announces a specific theme to steer events towards a shared focus.
This year’s theme was ‘keep the memory alive’.
Drama club students from St John Fisher Catholic High School in Peterborough staged a performance in the Guildhall in Cathedral Square.
Mayor of Peterborough, Councillor David Over lead a procession from the Town Hall to St John’s Church for the service, pausing at Cathedral Square to watch the drama performance.
The service begin with a welcome address from Reverend Canon Ian Black, vicar of St John’s Church, followed by the reading of ‘What is Man?’ by Chuck Salamon of the Hebrew Congregation.
Bryan Tyler of the Peterborough Disability Forum read a piece about Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann, a German-born British neurologist who established the Paralympic Games in England. His son, Dr Dennis Guttmann, lives locally.
The Mayor rounded off the service with the laying of a wreath at the Holocaust memorial in St John’s Square.
Cllr Over said: “It is so important that the city continues to join with the rest of the world in marking such an important day.
“The events taking place in Peterborough will give us all a chance to remember the victims of the Holocaust and other genocides.
“We must never forget these atrocities and the people that were killed and must continue to share their stories with generations to come.”
Brian Gascoyne, Chairman of the Holocaust Memorial Day Committee, said: “Holocaust Memorial Day encourages a real togetherness across Peterborough with support from school pupils, members of community and faith groups, representatives from the city council and the wider community.
“I am particularly pleased that this year’s event includes a reading about Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann. The contribution that this one man made was immeasurable, changing the course of thousands of people’s lives. He saved the lives of many Jewish people by keeping them in hospital as long as possible, and his pioneering treatment of hundreds of people with severed spinal cords, many of them as a result of the war, gave so many people hope and a quality of life that they never imagined they could have.
“I would encourage people to come along to the memorial day events to reflect and make their own commitment to helping end persecution within our own communities.”