The Holocaust was remembered in Belfast yesterday with scores of people attending a parade through the city.
Ahead of Jewish Holocaust Remembrance Day today, the walk was held as part of the Global March of Life movement and brought together local Christian and Jewish communities to take a stand against anti-Semitism.
Crowds gathered at the Jaffe Fountain, Victoria Square before walking to the city hall, with flags of nations on display to show the international backing the event had.
Peter Weir MLA told the News Letter that the event was a very significant symbol of remembrance and reconcilliation.
He said: “It went very well with a very large number of people taking part. It is very important that people don’t forget the Holocaust and remember the terrible atrocities that took place.
“It was my honour to take part in this event and stand with others in remembering those who were murdered during the Shoah (Holocaust) wrought upon the Jewish community. This year as education minister I announced a new programme to provide funding enabling the Holocaust Educational Trust to deliver its ‘Lessons from Auschwitz’ Project to Northern Ireland’s schools and colleges.
“I believe it is vitally important that our young people both understand the horrors of the Holocaust and its context in our society today.”
One of the march organisers, Mike McNally, said: “The concept behind this event is to stand shoulder to shoulder with our Jewish community to commemorate the Shoah (Holocaust), remembering those who perished and to pay tribute to the survivors, retelling their stories (keeping the memory alive) for generations to come.”
Rabbi of Belfast & Northern Ireland, Rabbi David Singer, said: “The lessons of the tragic past are being learnt slowly but surely. Momentum is gathering to remember those six million who perished in the Holocaust. Voices are being raised more and more and in many places around the world so that the past mistakes will not be repeated.
“As the survivors grow older, frailer and fewer we are making a mark to say, “We remember, we will honour, we will not forget and we will do all in our power to prevent a recurrence.
The March for Life is the best response possible to advertise this sentiment. The older generation, the survivors, together with the younger generation say to those who sought our destruction, ‘You failed – we are here and we stand together with our friends, united in a cause for peace’.”