Commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day are (left to right) Tania Nelson, daughter of a holocaust survivor, Helen Oakes of Wilmslow High School, John Weeks, Strategic Director of People for Cheshire East Council, Cheshire East Mayor Margaret Simon, Catherine Howard of Wilmslow High School and Jack Aizenberg, camp survivor.
A Holocaust survivor joined people from across Cheshire East to remember and reflect upon some of the most terrible events in recorded history.
Cheshire East Council invited Jack Aizenberg to be a guest speaker at the event to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day on the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Pupils and teachers from local schools joined members of community groups from across the area for the event at Macclesfield Town Hall.
Mr Aizenberg described his harrowing experiences at Buchenwald and Theresienstadt camps and how he was among only 60 inmates from 600 to survive a death march.
He was liberated in May 1945 but lost his mother, father and brother in the atrocities.
Guests heard next from Tania Nelson, daughter of camp survivor Mendel Beale, who recounted her father’s imprisonment at Gerlitz and Auschwitz.
Catherine Howard, Religious Studies Teacher at Wilmslow High School, recalled her visit to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, the world centre for research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust.
Wilmslow High School pupil Helen Oakes gave her experiences of a recent visit to Auschwitz.
The event featured choir performances from pupils from North Cheshire Jewish Primary School and Ash Grove Primary School and music from All Hallows Catholic College.
Cheshire East Mayor Margaret Simon said: “Very sadly, the evils that created the Holocaust have not entirely passed away with history.
“The tragedies of Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur show that the international community – and each of us as citizens – have still to understand and apply the lessons of the atrocities of 65 years ago.
“The experiences of the survivors were terrible to listen to but it is vitally important for people to understand what happened in the Holocaust, so that they can prevent the same terrible things ever happening again.
“We must all share the difficult responsibility for getting that message across.”
The commemoration was based around the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust’s 2010 theme of ‘A Legacy of Hope’.
Karen Pollock, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “This year’s theme ‘The Legacy of Hope’ highlights the importance of bearing witness to Holocaust Survivors.
“At the Holocaust Educational Trust, we endeavour to impart the history of the Holocaust to young people, across all communities, to ensure that we honour the memory of those whose lives were lost and take forward the lessons taught by those who survived.”