Holocaust Memorial Day service at Norwich’s St Peter Mancroft Church
15:19 27 January 2014
Reminding people of the atrocity which scarred the history of Europe and led to the death of millions of people, a memorial service was held in Norwich today to remember those who died in the Holocaust.
The annual service in St Peter Mancroft Church, as part of Holocaust Memorial Day, calls on people to remember the Jews and other minorities who died in Europe before and during the Second World War.
It also honoured those who died in subsequent genocides in places like Soviet Russia and Cambodia to encourage people to be mindful of what happened in the past - and to ensure it never happens again.
This year the service focused on the theme of journeys, whether it was a flee of escape away from Germany, or a final journey to an extermination camp.
The Lord Mayor of Norwich, Keith Driver, welcomed the congregation and also called on people to think of those forced to leave modern day places of conflict, such as Syria.
He said: “Many of us are in positions where we can be a voice for the voiceless.
“Hopefully the meditations of the this next hour will encourage us to be responsible citizens who work for the good of every part of our society.
“More widely, we recall the responsibility we have in our communities and neighbourhoods to promote respect for each individual and groups of people whatever their ethnic origins, their religious affiliation, their gender, their sexual orientation, or their economic status.”
The service included hymns in Hebrew and English, readings, and a performance from 89-year-old Norwich cellist Frank Pond, who composed a piece of music to remember the children who were forced to leave Germany through the Kindertransport scheme.
It was led by retired minister for the Norwich Hebrew Congregation, Alex Bennett, and Bishop David Gillett, assistant bishop and interfaith advisor in the Diocese of Norwich.
Mr Bennett said it was important that people were educated about the Holocaust and other atrocities to prevent it from happening again.
He said: “Today is a warning that people can still do this in cold blood - this is why we’re here to talk about it.”
Maureen Leveton, president of Norwich Hebrew Congregation read a poem found on the walls of a cellar in Cologne where Jews were hidden.
She said: “It’s important to have a day like this - you can see by the numbers who attended that a lot of Norwich feels the same.”
The service was also attended by the 89-year-old former Sheriff of Norwich Joe Stirling, who was one of the 10,000 children who escaped to England before the war broke out.
Today’s service was organised by the Council of Christians and Jews,