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Lisburn Castlereagh Commemorates Holocaust Memorial Day

Lisburn Castlereagh Commemorates Holocaust Memorial Day

February 1, 2019

Members of the Lisburn Castlereagh community came together last week to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day at Lagan Valley Island, Lisburn. 

This year the theme was ‘Torn from Home’.  The Council took a different approach to exploring the Holocaust and had a photographic display at the event.  It was comprised of images taken by 14 members of the local community during a study visit to Krakow, Poland as part of one of the programmes in the Council’s Good Relations Action Plan.

The Mayor, Councillor Uel Mackin, said: “This year’s Holocaust Memorial Day event was poignant as members of local community and voluntary groups captured the essence of the tragedy and bleakness of the concentration camps where the Jews along with other persecuted minorities were kept, tortured and killed.  They visited Auschwitz and Auschwitz II Birkenau, two of the largest camps; and to hear them talk about the variety emotions they experienced in visiting these legacies of the Holocaust was humbling. 

“We must never forget the suffering of the Holocaust. By remembering the bravery of those who suffered during the Holocaust we can work together to ensure that discrimination, hatred and racism are removed from society.”

Two stained glass windows commemorating the terrible enormity of the holocaust were also on display at the event.  They were funded through the PEACE IV ‘Understanding Culture through Arts Programme’ initiative and will in due course be installed in the Belfast Synagogue.

Alderman Paul Porter, Chairman of the Council’s Leisure & Community Development Committee added: “The Council annually commemorates Holocaust Memorial Day as it is a time that sharply focuses the mind on the lessons of the past, and what we can do to prevent such atrocities.  Through our Good Relations Programme we work to eliminate discrimination, hatred through language, and the exclusion of other cultures. 

“Changing the hearts and minds of people takes time but all parties involved are committed to creating a safer future in Lisburn Castlereagh for all ethnicities.  Everyone should be caring, strong, and never remain silent when the lives and dignity of others are at stake," he said. 

Seven statements of commitment were read to ensure the magnitude of loss of life from the Holocaust will never be forgotten. Candles were lit during the time of reflection allowing the audience to solemnly remember how the lives of those who survived the Holocaust were ultimately changed forever.