Holocaust memorial marks Auschwitz anniversary

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An event to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day took place yesterday in Armagh.

Junior ministers Megan Fearon and Alastair Ross hosted the commemoration, held in the Market Place Theatre in Armagh, to mark 72 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland.

The keynote speaker was Holocaust survivor Ms Mindu Hornick, who at the age of 13 was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau with her mother, sister and two younger brothers.

The event included prayers in Hebrew and English, music and verse recital, and a Statement of Commitment delivered by a range of community representatives.

There was also a formal screening of the Holocaust Memorial Day film for 2017 and a video about Holocaust survivor Walter Kammerling entitled ‘Strangers Smiled At Me’.

Ms Fearon said: “The scale of the atrocity can be difficult to comprehend. That there existed concentration and extermination camps which wiped out entire swathes of the population on an industrial scale is chilling, and yet it is a fact we must not forget.

“Sadly, subsequent decades have seen further genocides take place, such as those in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and, in recent years, the Darfur region of Sudan. They all serve as a reminder such crimes against humanity can occur if we stand by and allow it.”

Mr Ross added: “This commemoration lets us remember all of those who suffered and those who died as a result of the Holocaust.

“It serves as a stark reminder of the dangers of resentment, hatred and exclusion. We honour the survivors of genocide and challenge ourselves to use the lessons of their experience to inform our lives today.”