Remembering the six million slaughtered

HOLOCAUST survivors, British soldiers who liberated the death camps and those determined never to forget will gather together today to remember the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis.

HOLOCAUST survivors, British soldiers who liberated the death camps and those determined never to forget will gather together today to remember the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis.

The Queen, Prime Minister Tony Blair and religious leaders will join more than 600 victims from the concentration camps and ghettos in marking the atrocities at the national Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony in London.

At the 60th anniversary ceremony of the liberation of Auschwitz, grandchildren of the survivors will read a poignant list of 3,000 of their relatives who perished at the hands of the Nazis.

In Ipswich, the town's Jewish community and civic leaders were due to attend a service at 11am at the Old Jewish Cemetery near Key Street.

Organiser Elizabeth Sugarman said Roger Fern, Mayor of Ipswich, would be at the ceremony.

Mrs Sugarman said: "Today is the Holocaust Memorial Day set aside to remember the liberation of Auschwitz. We are calling the ceremony a time of remembrance and reflection.

Most Read

"There will be some reflections on what happened and we will remember that genocide is still going on in the world. It is appropriate to remember what happened."

Mrs Sugarman said traditional prayers would make up part of the ceremony.

She added: "We will say the memorial prayer for the dead, the Kaddish mourners prayer which is always said when we remember the dead."

In London, Chief Rabbi Dr Jonathan Sacks, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, Home Secretary Charles Clarke and the Duke of Edinburgh will also attend.

As part of the programme, the Queen will lead survivors by lighting the first of 60 candles in Westminster Hall in the Palace of Westminster.

Polish born Gena Turgel, 81, who miraculously escaped the gas chambers at Auschwitz when the poison was not released, will accompany the Queen to her seat.

Former soldier Charles Salt, 87, who entered the Belsen camp in Germany shortly after it was liberated by the British in 1945, will escort the Duke of Edinburgh to his place.

At the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp - the overriding symbol of the horrors, where up to 1.5 million perished - 29 world leaders will pay their respects in a simultaneous ceremony.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and the Earl of Wessex will join other European VIPs at the site near Krakow in Poland for a commemoration of the death factory's liberation by Soviet troops 60 years ago.

Across the UK, dozens of events will take place for the fifth annual Holocaust Memorial Day, which coincides with European Day Against Genocide.

Thoughts will also turn to the other victims who did not fit the Nazi racial or social stereotype - Roma gypsies, homosexuals, beggars, alcoholics, the mentally ill, the disabled and the homeless - who also faced extermination in their hundreds of thousands.

The theme of this year's Holocaust Memorial Day is "Survivors, Liberation and Rebuilding Lives".

Home Secretary Charles Clarke said: "The Holocaust and the lessons it teaches us should never be forgotten.

"There is no place for extremism and racism in Britain. But as we remember the many who lost their lives we are reminded that the responsibility of ensuring a democratic and tolerant society, free of the evils of prejudice, racism and other forms of bigotry, lies on us all.''

Dr Stephen Smith, chairman designate of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, said: "Today's generation is the last that will have the opportunity to hear at first hand the testimony of survivors and liberators of the Holocaust.

"This is a precious responsibility, not just as a commemoration for all those who suffered, but as a reminder that the lessons of the Holocaust are as relevant today as ever.''

At Ipswich Museum in High Street Suffolk artist Claudia Bose will be displaying her work inspired by a visit to Dachau concentration camp.

Ms Bose, a German national, said the one day sculpture 'installation' is entitles 'Close-Less'.

She said: "It is a collaboration with artist Bernard Meehan. It is eight items of clothing each with a postcard size drawing hung one a coat hanger."

Ms Bose, of Waldringfield added: "It is a response to a visit to a concentration camp. The garments represent the human side to what happened. It has been organised to commemorate the liberation of Auschwitz 60 years ago."

The 'installation' is open at the museum between 10am and 4.30pm.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter