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East End remembers Holocaust dead on Auschwitz liberation anniversary

PUBLISHED: 19:02 28 January 2013 | UPDATED: 19:02 28 January 2013

A scene from the Halocaust memorial gathering at the East London Synagogue

A scene from the Halocaust memorial gathering at the East London Synagogue

Archant

The anniversary of the Holocaust was marked in London’s East End again yesterday to remember the millions who perished in history’s worst genocide.

Tower Hamlets Mayor Luftur RahmanTower Hamlets Mayor Luftur Rahman

Community and religious leaders came together for the annual Tower Hamlets inter-faith service at Stepney’s East London Central Synagogue for Holocaust Memorial Day.

The East End—once the home of a thriving Jewish community—remembered the seven million men, women and children exterminated in Nazi death camps in Occupied Europe during the Second World War, six million of them Jews.

Mayor Lutfur Rahman, addressing the inter-faith congregation, spoke of complicity by those living side-by-side with the victims, in the Holocaust and other genocides since then.

“The Jewish community had lived for generations in Germany, deeply embedded and integrated into German society,” he said. “In Rwanda, the Tutsi’s lived side by side and intermarried with Hutus.

Sonya Sier offers a reflection from a Bahai perspectiveSonya Sier offers a reflection from a Bahai perspective

“Yet despite this integration, these communities broke down.”

He spoke of “the demonisation of people for being different” and “good people looking the other way and failing to speak out when their neighbours suffered injustice.”

Poplar & Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick had earlier signed a ‘Book of Commitment’ in Parliament, marking Sunday’s 68th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the biggest Nazi death camp where 1.5 million people were murdered.

But the MP warned: “Prejudice and hatred still exists—we need to show it has no place in society today.”

The Book was placed in the House of Commons by the Holocaust Educational Trust to honour those who perished.


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