Hackney pays tribute to victims of genocide on Holocaust Memorial Day 2024

Hackney has paid tribute to the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides around the world in a special ceremony at Hackney Town Hall on Monday 29 January to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day.

Every year, Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January remembers the six million Jewish people murdered during the Holocaust, alongside the millions of others killed under Nazi persecution and in genocides that followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. 27 January marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1945, the largest Nazi death camp.

The theme of this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day is “Fragility of Freedom”.

The ceremony included a live performance by Simon Marks Jewish Primary School, the Olive School’s Star Voices Children's Choir contribution of “Peace Train”, readings by students from Haggerston School and Urswick School, and an interfaith prayer by Mehri Niknam MBE, read by Sudenaz Top, a former Hackney Young Speaker.

Attendees also heard readings of personal accounts from a Holocaust survivor and a Ukraine refugee welcomed to Hackney through Hackney’s Help to Work scheme.

A statement of commitment read by members of the Council and community leaders including Cllr Bramble, Rabbi Hershel Gluck OBE, Stephen Howlett DL CBE and Mayor Caroline Woodley was followed by the lighting of the Memorial Candle, a minute’s silence, prayers read by former Speaker Cllr Michael Desmond and Rabbi Tikvah Sarah - Kehillah and a performance of Israeli folk song "Shalom" by the East London School of Music.

Anya Sizer, Speaker of Hackney, was also joined by the Mayor to place a floral tribute at the Holocaust Memorial tree at the front of Town Hall. 

On Holocaust Memorial Day we remember all those who have lost their lives through genocide. It is an important reminder of the need for communities to unite in solidarity alongside their neighbours against those who would dehumanise and cause division, in order to protect the fragility of freedom.

Caroline Woodley, Mayor of Hackney

We must never forget the horrors that have come before, and push for a future where the rights of all are respected. We respectfully honour those who lost their lives in horrific genocides and ensure that their memories live on.

Cllr Anya Sizer, Speaker of Hackney
Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Deputy Mayor and Lead Cabinet Member for Faith

Hackney is a place that has long stood up against hate. We have welcomed those fleeing persecution, violence and discrimination. Many of these communities proudly call this borough home, and thrive because we always respect the right of individuals and groups to be their authentic selves.

Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Deputy Mayor and Lead Cabinet Member for Faith