On 27 January, Wales marked Holocaust Memorial Day 2020 with a National Service of Commemoration in Cardiff City Hall.
Dr Martin Stern MBE, a survivor of the Holocaust, shares his testimony, © Welsh Government (Crown Copyright), all rights reserved.
The Reverend Canon Stewart Lisk introduced the service, which marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and the 25th anniversary of the Genocide in Bosnia. This was followed by The Rt. Hon. The Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Councillor Dan De’Ath, reading the Statement of Commitment.
Dr Martin Stern MBE, who survived camps at both Westerbork and Theresienstadt during the Holocaust, shared moving and powerful testimony. The Rt. Hon. Mark Drakeford AM, First Minister of Wales, read the poem, Belsen Silence by Iolo Lewis and Councillor Huw Thomas, Leader of Cardiff Council, read Matthew Chapter 25 Verses 34-45 in Welsh.
Guests heard from Abi Carter, Co-Chair of Remembering Srebrenica Wales, and music was performed by members of the Cardiff County & Vale of Glamorgan Youth Choir and Youth Orchestra String Quartet.
Reflections were led by The Reverend Canon Stewart Lisk and the Prayer for Holocaust Memorial Day was read.
The ceremony closed with the laying of a wreath, blessings, and a pledge written by Gwyneth Lewis, National Poet of Wales 2005/6.
Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of Holocaust Memorial Day Trust commented:
Today, exactly 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, we join together to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2020. For the first time in many years, HMD ceremonies in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are taking place on the same day – which is particularly symbolic given this year’s theme: Stand Together. The significant milestone that we collectively mark is made especially poignant by the dwindling number of survivors of the Holocaust who are able to share their testimonies. Their experiences are vital reminders of the way in which genocidal regimes throughout history have deliberately fractured societies and divided communities. Today, our world often feels fragile and vulnerable, and we cannot be complacent. Genocide must still be resisted every day, and even here in the UK, prejudice and the language of hate must be challenged by us all. As Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, I am proud of the more than 10,000 local HMD activities which take place each year. In schools, libraries, councils, community groups and many more settings, people are learning from the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and more recent genocides, for a better future. By joining us here today, you are standing together with people still facing prejudice and hostility, and I thank you for your support.