AN EVENING of reflection to remember victims of the Holocaust will take place at Reading Civic Centre on 24th January to mark national Holocaust Memorial Day.
The theme for the event is ‘The Power of Words’ – their ability to be used for both good and bad, so evident in The Holocaust and still of relevance today.
The evening will feature art work, poetry, songs from the Maidenhead Synagogue Choir and an address from a keynote speaker.
This year’s keynote speaker is Val Ross, from the Anne Frank Trust UK. Val is manager of the Trust’s East of England region, working on education and community programmes and equality and dignity training. She uses Anne Frank’s story to encourage people to reflect on their attitudes and values.
There will also be input from Rabbi Jonathan Romain, Reading Borough Council Leader, Cllr Jo Lovelock and the High Sheriff of Berkshire, Sarah Scrope.
Councillor Jo Lovelock, Leader of Reading Borough Council, said: “With international events across the world reminding us all that extremist views continue to stir hatred and intolerance, it is important for people of all backgrounds to come together to remember the victims of past atrocities and pledge to work together to stand up to racism. Events like Memorial Day are vitally important so that no one ever forgets the horror, not only of the Holocaust, but of all genocide. I encourage people to join us in this evening of reflection.”
Victor Koroma, Manager of Acre, said: “The Nazis used words to turn neighbours into enemies, and in recent times we have seen how words that have not been carefully thought through could easily be misconstrued to engender negative reactions. Post Brexit vote we witnessed a backlash against thousands of innocent people in the UK simply because they were different. We have also witnessed how withholding the right words by the people with authority to speak has caused unnecessary suffering to many people in Myanmar, Yemen, and Syria etc. Words are powerful; they can heal just as much as they can cause harm.”
During the evening there will be a candle-lighting ceremony and seven ‘Statements of Commitment’ from the key figures taking part in the event. The statements recognise the full horror of the Holocaust and pledge to honour the survivors and continue the work to educate future generations about the importance of mutual understanding and justice.
Reading based, award winning poet Wendy Klein, whose mother- in- law was a Holocaust survivor, will present a selection of thought-provoking poems, whilst Reading based visual artist Peter Driver, will present a new piece of art reflective of the evening’s theme.
Entry to the remembrance event is free. The event starts at 6.30pm with registration from 6pm.
For more information, please call Victor Koroma at ACRE, 0118 9510 279 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo opportunity: You are invited to send a reporter and / or photographer to the Reading Holocaust Memorial Evening of Remembrance & Reflection on Wednesday 24th January 2018 at the Civic Offices, Bridge Street, Reading RG1 2LU. A photo call will take place before the start of the event at 6.20pm.
About Holocaust Memorial Day
Holocaust Memorial Day is an annual event and marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The day highlights the results of prejudice and intolerance through learning about the Holocaust, other victims of Nazi racial policies and genocides. www.hmd.org.uk
The Holocaust Memorial Event is organised by Reading Borough Council and the Alliance for Cohesion and Racial Equality (Acre) and supported by Reading Hebrew Congregation, Maidenhead Synagogue, Reading Refugee Support Group, Berkshire Rwandese Community, Reading SACRE and The George Hotel in Pangbourne.
For information on the work of the Anne Frank Trust, visit https://annefrank.org.uk
Wendy Klein’s poetry has appeared in many anthologies and poetry magazines. A retired family psychotherapist; she is a regular reader at the Troubadour and Poets’ Cafe in Reading. Her first collection was Cuba in the Blood (Cinnamon Press), followed by Anything in Turquoise (2013), plus a third, Mood Indigo (2016), from Oversteps Books. www.wendyklein.co.uk
Artist Peter Driver works with printmaking, drawing and performative intervention to question the way the world is. His work seeks to challenge assumptions and foster conversation about meaning, environment, community and uses of power. Find out more about his work at: www.peterdriver.info