Residents across Barnet, MPs and councillors came together this Sunday to pay their respects to victims of the Holocaust at Barnet's annual Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony. Leader of the Council, Richard Cornelius, gave a short speech after a welcome address from Mayor of Barnet Cllr David Longstaff. Attendees then heard readings, prayers and psalms from Holocaust survivors, pupils from St Michael's Catholic Grammar School, the Barnet band and the Alyth Youth Singers.
Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet, said: “For many in Barnet the Holocaust is not ancient history but something which had a huge impact on them or their relatives. It is always moving to hear speakers at this annual Barnet event reflecting on the Holocaust and paying tribute to its millions of victims. Holocaust Memorial Day is more than a commemoration, it is a reminder not to let the horrors of the past happen again.
“All attendees heard the Barnet Statement of Commitment: to ensure the Holocaust has a permanent place in our nation’s memory, to strive to ensure that future generations are aware of the Holocaust and all acts of genocide, to do our utmost to make sure that the lessons learned from these events are fully understood.”
Cllr David Longstaff said: “Barnet’s Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration was a very moving experience and an opportunity for us all to remember all those who lost their lives in the Holocaust and in other genocides.
“The theme of this year’s commemoration prompts us to reflect on how life can go on in the aftermath of the Holocaust and other atrocities and asks how we move forward, rebuild lives and communities and what we need to do to live in peace.”
Barnet’s Statement of Commitment – Holocaust Memorial Day
- We recognise that the Holocaust shook the foundations of modern civilisation and its unprecedented character and horror continue to hold universal meaning
- We believe that the Holocaust must have a permanent place in our nation’s collective memory and we honour the Survivors still with us.
- We reaffirm our shared goals of mutual understanding and value the sacrifices of those who have risked their lives to protect or rescue victims as a permanent reminder of the human capacity for good in the face of evil.
- We will strive to ensure that future generations are aware of the Holocaust and other acts of genocide, and reflect upon their consequences. We vow to remember the victims of Nazi persecution and all genocide.
- We recognise that humanity is still scarred by the misconception that some people’s lives are worth less than others because of their disability, ethnicity, gender, religion or sexuality. Racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and discrimination still persist, and we have a shared responsibility to fight these evils.
- We in Barnet are proud of our multicultural, multi-faith community. We pledge to strengthen our efforts to promote education and research about the Holocaust and other acts of genocide. We will do our utmost to make sure that the lessons learnt from these events are fully understood.
- We in Barnet condemn the evils of prejudice, discrimination and racism and value the right for all to live in a free, tolerant and democratic society.
Picture: (l-r) Matthew Offord, MP for Hendon, Dr Sheila Gewolb, Vice President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Mayor of Barnet Cllr David Longstaff, Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet, Mike Freer, MP for Finchley and Golders Green, Barnet Council Leader Richard Cornelius.