For many years Hastings Borough Council have supported a Holocaust Memorial Day Service, which takes place at St Mary-in-the Castle, Hastings. A former Church, the venue was converted into an arts centre in 1998 and now hosts a wide variety of performances and events.
The memorial service for HMD 2016 involved a range of different groups, including a large number of young people. The Acromax Performance Group, with members of the Helenswood Academy, performed a dance interpretation of the 2016 theme, Don't stand by.
Pupils from St. Richard's Catholic College, also used dance alongside the spoken words of the poem First they came by Martin Niemöller.
Fran Elson, daughter of a Holocaust survivor, spoke about the experience of her mother’s family during the Holocaust. The moving experiences of Fran’s mother, grandmother and great grandmother are the subject of a book written by Fran’s sister, entitled Escape to Auschwitz. As three Jewish women from Vienna, Fran’s family were torn apart by the Nazi regime and the book consists of letters written to each other as they were split up across three countries.
Other speakers at the service included the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd MP and the Emeritus Archbishop of Southwark, Kevin McDonald.
Organiser Brian Linke said: ‘By listening to these stories we can understand the need to work together to create a society which is free from discrimination and hatred - learning lessons from the past creates a better future.’
- If this example has inspired you to organise an activity for HMD 2017, read our theme vision here.