Cheshire East Council is to hold an act of remembrance to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
The move follows a personal initiative by Council Leader Michael Jones, announced last month, to make it an annual commemoration by the authority.
Councillor Jones and Cheshire East Council Mayor Councillor Dorothy Flude will lead civic dignitaries representing communities from across the Borough at the Holocaust Memorial Day Act of Remembrance, at Sandbach Town Hall, at 11am on Monday, January 27, 2014. Members of the public are warmly invited to attend.
Holocaust Memorial Day has taken place on the same date since it was introduced in 2001. January 27 was chosen as that was the date when the Nazis’ notorious Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated by Russian troops in 1945.
The Holocaust resulted in the annihilation of six million Jews, two million Gypsies, 15,000 homosexual people and millions of others by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.
Sadly, since 1945 there have been many other attempted genocides across the world and these are also commemorated on Holocaust Memorial Day.
Councillor Michael Jones said: “This will be a solemn occasion when the people of Cheshire East as a community join together symbolically to bear witness and remember.
“We recognise that humanity is, sadly, still scarred by the belief that race, religion, disability or sexuality makes some people’s lives worth less than others.
“We gather to bear witness to the horrors to which such evil beliefs can lead humanity. Genocide does not come out of a void – it’s a steady process, which can begin if discrimination, racism and hatred are not checked and prevented.
“This service is not just about remembering the victims of the distant past and honouring the survivors. Other attempted genocides, mass killings and so-called ethnic cleansing have blighted countries and communities across the world since the Nazi Holocaust, including Cambodia, Rwanda, Darfur and indeed in the heart of Europe again in Bosnia.
“We must never forget these crimes – or their innocent victims – and we must challenge ourselves to use the lessons of the past to inform our lives today.”
The act of remembrance will include readings, lighting of candles to the victims of genocide and a two-minute silence, followed by the tolling of a bell.
Members of the public are invited to attend and can obtain more information by phoning Council officer Martin Smith on 01270 686012.