DON’T Stand By was the theme at the moving Holocaust Memorial Day service which took place at Bromsgrove District Council House on Wednesday (January 27).
There was an impeccably-observed silence introduced and followed by the Last Post and Reveille played by bugler Sarah Chapman from Bromsgrove School.
Pupils from nine middle and high schools across the district took part in the proceedings, including students from North and South Bromsgrove High, Waseley Hills High, Bromsgrove School, Haybridge, Hagley, Woodrush, Parkside and Aston Fields Middle.
They participated by reading extracts about the Holocaust and continuation of genocidal wars into the modern day.
The efforts of those who worked to help victims of the Holocaust were highlighted with readings and a candle was lit after each one to remember them.
Students and staff from Chadsgrove School also attended.
Rabbi Dr Margaret Jacobi from the Birmingham Progressive Synagogue made the opening speech, emphasising the importance of teaching younger generations ‘the truth of our actions, and so enable them to act differently.”
The Rabbi said: “We still get people talking about refugees like they’re less than human – and this is one thing we have not learnt yet.”
Yvonne Stollard from Brosmgrove, whose grandmother died in Auschwitz, has been involved with organising the memorial event since 2001.
She said: “It’s not just to do with Jews – it can be about anyone.
She added: “It’s very important to look around to see if other genocides are in the making and if we’re making the same mistakes.
“We need to act at the beginning and be vigilant.”
Bromsgrove District Council chairman, Coun Caroline Spencer, said: “It was a very moving service and it was good the pupils of the high and middle schools took part.
“The new set-up at Parkside also made it feel more inclusive for everyone.
“It is important for the younger generation to learn about what has happened and to continue conveying the message so we can all be vigilant for the future.”
Aksa Khan, the secretary of the Bromsgrove Muslim Community Trust (BMCT) made the final Statement of Commitment, which pledged to ‘strengthen our efforts to promote education and research about the Holocaust and other genocides’.
She stressed the importance of the young people taking part in the service, adding she also felt the new venue was better-suited to host the service.
“It’s amazing to see the different parts of the community all pause and come together to remember the atrocities that have happened over the years.
The service was closed with a prayer and blessing from Rev Ray Khan.
HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY 2016