Councillors and community leaders joined residents at the Holocaust Memorial Day event at the University of Bedfordshire on Thursday, January 25, to commemorate all the victims of genocide.
This year’s theme was the ‘power of words’ and the message underlined the power words can hold and how genocides developed from name calling.
Antoinette Mushimiyimana shared her experience and gave a powerful speech on how she survived the Rwandan genocide. She spoke about how her father sent her into hiding and what she saw coming out, the haunting scenes she witnessed.
Stopsley High School Drama group performed a touching piece, honouring the theme ‘power of words’.
The performance consisted of a group of young people and how the use of cruel words made them feel inferior, the piece gave a modern twist on the theme, highlighting the damage words can do online.
Bedfordshire police’s Sergeant James Hart spoke about raising awareness of hate crime and the impact it can have on communities and he he encouraged everyone to report them however big or small.
Led by Hilary Fox, representatives of the community took part in the lighting of the candles in memory of the 11 million victims of the Nazi Holocaust and of all genocides.
A Hebrew prayer for the dead, the Kaddish, was led by Lawrence Benjamin and David Corfan after the lighting of the candles.
The Mayor of Luton, councillor Mohammad Ayub, said: “I would like to thank everyone for supporting the Holocaust Memorial Day event.
“Together we can honour the survivors and victims of the Holocaust and other genocides and can keep the memories alive by reflecting on the past.
“This specific event allows us to respect each other’s differences and challenges us to use the lessons of their experiences to inform our lives today.”