Junior Ministers Jonathan Bell and Jennifer Mc Cann hosted the 12th regional Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration in the Queen’s Hall, Newtownards.
~ Monday, 28 January 2013
The theme of this year’s event is “Communities Together – Build a Bridge” and marks the 68th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp.
Speaking at the event Junior Minister Bell said: “Holocaust Memorial Day gives us an opportunity to reflect on the consequences of discrimination and persecution and learn from lessons of the past. It is a time to remember those who have been murdered in the Holocaust and other more recent genocides, in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur. It is very important that we not only remember the dead but we must also learn from the atrocities of the past in the hope of creating a better shared future for everyone.”
Junior Minister McCann added: “It is important to remember the Holocaust but also to ensure that the actions that led to the Holocaust are eradicated from society. We must challenge sectarianism, racism and homophobia. We have a responsibility to do so and the best memorial we could leave is a society where lessons are learned and everyone is treated equally. We must challenge all forms of hatred and promote inclusion. Everyone has a place in our society and we all have a valuable contribution to make.”
Attending the event were members of the local Jewish community and representatives from a range of faith communities, ethnic minority and other groups. Pupils from Donaghadee Primary School performed two songs, including ‘A Bridge of Voice’ which was commissioned for this years’ commemoration. Millisle Primary School pupils read extracts from ‘Faraway Home’, a book based on children saved from Nazi persecution to live in safety in Millisle.