A MOVING service has taken place to remember those who lost their lives in one of history’s worst atrocities.
People of all ages gathered at South Shields Town Hall today to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
The event, was made event more poignant, as it also marked 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau - the largest Nazi death camp as well as the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica, Bosnia.
The service was led by Father Chris Fuller, Father Michael Weymes and the Reverend Paul Kennedy and heard from pupils from South Tyneside who give their thoughts on the Holocaust following a visit to one of the concentration camps.
One student spoke of her feeling when seeing a collection of human hair taken from victims and another of when she stepped into a gas chamber and saw the fingernail marks on the walls where people had tried to escape.
The theme of this year’s event was Keeping the Memory Alive.
During the service readings were made by Jean Mulley from St Hilda’s Church who told of Kemal Pevanic’s story of survival during the Bosnian war; Dr Shobha Srivastava who read the Prayer of St Francis of Assisi and Coun Ken Stephenson who recited the poem ‘There is a Last Solitary Coach’.
Candles were lit before primary school pupils placed a leaf pledge onto the tree of life on one thing they will do to keep the memory alive.
Mayor of South Tyneside Coun Fay Cunningham, who read the statement of commitment to never forget the atrocities of the holocaust, said: “South Tyneside is proud to join in the National Holocaust Memorial Service. It is so important to never forget the horrors of the Second World War and the murder of six million Jews or the horrors of the acts of genocide since.
“It is so easy for people to forget, but we must always remember and it was really nice to see our young people take part in what was a very moving service.
“We must not forget and we must stand united against anything happening like this in the future.”
The event also feature a short film entitled My Gold Pendant by Holocaust survivor Lily Ebert.