Holocaust Memorial Day 2009 in Hackney

HACKNEY marked Holocaust Memorial Day on Tuesday (27 January) with ceremonies held in the Council Chamber and Town Hall Square. The event was supported by The Learning Trust.

The Speaker of Hackney, Cllr Ian Rathbone, was joined by pupils from the borough’s schools, police, and members of the public in the Council Chamber.
Songs were performed by Simon Marks Jewish Primary School pupils, before excerpts from the recent BBC dramatisation of Anne Frank’s life were shown. Actors and those involved in the BBC production recently visited Clapton Girls Technology College for their views on the programme.

Students from Clapton Girls’ Technology College were awarded certificates to mark their appointment as Anne Frank Ambassadors. They then took part in a discussion along with a Petchey Academy student, on their responses to the Anne Frank story with Mukith Khalisadar, a representative from the Anne Frank Trust.

The Anne Frank Declaration, a pledge to stand up to discrimination signed by world leaders, was read out. Representatives from the Council’s political parties along with Hackney Free and Parochial School students then made a statement of commitment to remember the Holocaust and ensure it never happens again.

A memorial candle was lit, which remained outside the Council Chamber for the rest of the day, and two minutes of silence was held for reflection. The proceedings then moved outside to the Town Hall Square, where the Speaker, together with students from Clapton Girls Technology College, placed a floral tribute next to the Holocaust Memorial Tree.

The theme of this year’s event, which took place on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in 1945, was Stand Up to Hatred, as Holocaust Memorial Day also remembers victims of more recent genocides, including Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.

Cllr Rathbone said: “Those that commit genocide do not respect age, gender, occupation, or religion. And it can all start very early on, almost unnoticed, with someone hating someone else because they seem ‘different’ in some way. By learning from the past we can Stand up to Hatred and create a safer, better future for us all. We can also make sure discrimination has no place in our borough, which is a place of tolerance and peace, and where different communities get on with each other side by side.”