HOLOCAUST Memorial Day was marked across Gwent yesterday at a series of services, exhibitions and events.
Schoolchildren, veterans and dignitaries were among those who joined political and religious leaders at churches and chapels in Torfaen, Monmouthshire and Newport yesterday, to pay tribute to millions of genocide victims.
The event marked the liberation of the largest Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, on January 27, 1945 – the site of the single largest mass-murder in history.
Since 2001 the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust has been campaigning to commemorate the date and remember subsequent genocides committed across the world. The theme of this year’s event was ‘journeys’, including stories of terror and persecution alongside tales of survival.
Speaking at St Cadoc’s Church in Trevethin, Reverend Canon Brian Pippen said: “We gather to share with one another the stories of the past, of people who have experienced pain and survived, and to remember those who did not survive.”
Alongside prayers and readings, Gwent Music Support Service performed, with an excerpt from Schindler’s List among their moving contribution. Schoolchildren from St Alban’s School, West Mon School and Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw all attended.
Stuart Allen, of St Alban’s RC High School read a statement of commitment, saying: “We recognise the Holocaust shook the foundations of modern civilisation. Its unprecedented character and horror will always hold universal meaning.”
The event also remembered atrocities in Armenia, Bosnia, Cambodia, Rwanda, and Darfur. Monmouth Assembly Member Nick Ramsay joined pupils and staff from Cantref Primary School and King Henry VIII School at St Mary’s Priory Church in Abergavenny.
Head students from St Julian’s School undertook readings, while Bassaleg School’s choir performed. Ten students, aged 11and up, attended from Newport High School.
A three-day exhibition was held at Horeb Baptist Church in Blaenavon, by Pastor David Miller.
The ex teacher used posters and videos to educate visitors.
He said it would run again next year.