Merseyside's Police Commissioner and her Deputy will today join services to remember all those who lost their lives during the Holocaust and through genocide around the world.
Jane Kennedy will unite with Liverpool's Lord Mayor, Councillor Roz Gladden, and faith leaders at a special ceremony at Liverpool Town Hall, while Deputy Police Commissioner, Cllr Sue Murphy, will join multi-faith leaders and dignitaries at a service at St Helens Town Hall to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
The theme for this year’s Memorial Day is “How can life go on?” and asks people to think about what happens after genocide and our own responsibilities in the wake of such a crime.
Jane said: "The service to mark Holocaust Memorial Day is always a truly powerful service which gives all those gathering the opportunity to remember the millions of people killed in the Holocaust, through Nazi persecution, and in genocides around the world.
"It is an occasion that reminds us all of the need to continue to fight against hatred, injustice and persecution today.
“Sadly, discrimination, racism and hatred still exist in our society and there is still work to do before such behaviour is eradicated from our communities. Taking effective action against hate crimes and tackling the prejudices and intolerance that motivate them is a priority for me, and for Merseyside Police. Such crimes have a deeply corrosive impact upon victims and communities.”
Before the service, wreaths will be laid at the memorial stone in St John’s Gardens at 9am in memory of all victims of persecution, before the special service at Liverpool Town Hall starts at 11am. It will also be attended by civic and faith representatives as well as invited members of the local community.
Lord Mayor, Councillor Roz Gladden, said: “Holocaust Memorial Day is not only a time to remember those millions who died in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides but is also a call to action for the present.
“We all have a responsibility over related issues such as hate crime and prejudice to ensure they have no place in our society.
“The events we are putting on will be moving and poignant and encourage us all to help to build a safer future for ourselves and future generations.”
The guest speaker at the service at Liverpool Town Hall will be Marie van der Zyl, Vice President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.
Marie van der Zyl said: “I am very pleased to be in Liverpool to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day.
“It is so important that we not only remember the Holocaust, but strive to learn lessons from those dark days.
“With our world currently a divided and dangerous place, this has never been more crucial.”
At the service Rabbi Dr Martin Van den Bergh, Childwall Hebrew Congregation will join the Lord Mayor in lighting a memorial candle and there will be prayers and blessings from other faith leaders.
Students from Florence Melly Community Primary School, Pinehurst Primary School, Alsop High School, Broughton Hall Catholic High School and Archbishop Beck Catholic Sports College will give a presentation of life stories to address the question ‘How can life go on?’ and King David High School Choir will sing.
A three-day exhibition is also being held in the Hall of Remembrance at Liverpool Town Hall to raise awareness of the genocide during World War Two. It is being staged by Fathers House, a Christian congregation based in Deeside who question members of the public about their recollection and understanding of the Holocaust.
Pastor Mike Fryer from Fathers House said: “Before the early 1990s, the Holocaust was not a subject schools taught to their students and therefore there are those in our society who don’t really understand the suffering of those six million Jews murdered during the Second World War.”
Liverpool Councillor Jeremy Wolfson, a member of the city’s Jewish community, said: This exhibition gives us an opportunity to reflect on the Holocaust and raise awareness of not only what happened but to try and ensure that the attitudes which led to it are not repeated.”
The exhibition is open from 11am to 3:30pm on Wednesday 25 January, 10am – 3:30pm on Thursday 26 January and 1pm – 3:30pm on Friday 27 January.
For more information about Holocaust Memorial Day and how it is marked nationally, please visit the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust