Lord Alfred Dubs, recently known for his successful bid to gain UK support for child refugees, will be the key note speaker at the evening of remembrance and reflection on Wednesday 25th January.
The annual event, which this year has the theme of ‘How can life go on?’ will also feature a number of special guest speakers, readings, poetry and music from Maidenhead Synagogue Choir.
Labour peer Lord Dubs arrived in the UK in 1939 as a six-year-old refugee fleeing the persecution of Jews in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. He was one of nearly 700 Czech children who escaped the Holocaust on trains from Prague, known as Kindertransport, organised by then British stockbroker Sir Nicholas Winton.
Lord Dubs was Labour MP for Battersea South and then Battersea between 1979 and 1987 and became a peer in 1994. He was successful in getting an amendment to the Immigration Bill through the House of Lords last year which cleared the way for unaccompanied child refugees to come to the UK from Europe. He has continued to challenge the government about progress on the issue in the Lords.
Lord Dubs’ key note address on the evening will be on the theme: How can life go on? A Holocaust Survivor.
The evening will also feature a talk on the City of Sanctuary by Nick Harborne, director of Reading Refugee Support Group, and an address on The Way Forward by Reading Borough Council leader Cllr Jo Lovelock.
The event will include a reading of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust Statement of Commitment, lighting of memorial candles, the Memorial Prayer led by Elder Eli Lejeune and The Kaddish with Rabbi Jonathan Romain. Deputy Mayor Cllr Rose Williams and Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire James Puxley will also be attending.
Councillor Jo Lovelock said:
“This evening of remembrance and reflection is being held in honour of those who died in the Holocaust and all those who were affected by its horror.
“It is also important that we look at the world around us today and recognise our ongoing obligation to stand-up against oppression and hatred and continue to promote respect and tolerance.”
Victor Koroma, Manager for Acre, said:
“Every now and again incidents happen which puts the spotlight back on the fact that some people concentrate more on what is different about us, rather than on what is common among us and would seek to exploit that difference to the detriment of their targets.
“Holocaust and Genocides are perfect reminders of why it is in our best interests to diligently oppose bigotry and hate in all its guises for the common good of humanity.”
Holocaust Memorial Day, which is recognised nationally on 27th January, 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.
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, Royal County of Berkshire Branch CCJ, Valpee Printing Co and George Hotel, Pangbourne.