Tuesday, 30 January, 2018

On Thursday 25 January The Executive Office, Northern Ireland hosted an event to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2018. 

The keynote speaker was Dr Martin Stern MBE, who was arrested by the Nazis when he was five years old. He survived the Holocaust having been sent to Westerbork transit camp and then to Theresienstadt concentration camp. As part of the event, guests watched a film of Martin's earlier visit to Northern Ireland, in which he shared his personal experiences with school and community groups. 

A memorial candle was lit by Jane Hurwitz, whose great grandfather helped fund the purchase of Millisle Farm, a place where many Jewish children fleeing Nazi terror found a new home in the late 1930s. 

David Sterling, Head of the Civil Service in Northern Ireland, reflected on the theme for HMD 2018:

'The theme for this year’s commemoration is The power of words. Words can have a huge impact, whether for the good or bad. If we are to help build our shared and diverse society, we must ensure that words should never be tolerated to marginalise, inflict pain and hurt against anyone regardless of race, colour, religion, creed, nationality, sexual orientation, or disability. We must learn from the past if we are to build a better future.'

Participants included Maolíosa McHugh, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Rabbi Singer, the Education Authority Music Service Youth Orchestra and representatives from faith, disability, minority, ethnic and LGBT communities.