DRAMA and music, plus personal testimonies of past atrocities and present-day persecutions, stirred the audience at this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day at the University of Huddersfield.
Organised by 6 million+ Charitable Trust with generous support from the University, the event, titled Beyond Words, focused on the impact of words used during the Holocaust and subsequent genocides, through propaganda used to incite hatred and the slogans written in resistance.
An emotive procession featuring the giants figures of the Weeping Sisters made its way through the streets of Huddersfield to begin the commemoration. The sisters represented women remembering the victims of Jewish, Bosnian, Kurdish and Roma genocides and were accompanied by music and singing from five cultures including the local samba band, Slick Stick Sambastic.
Roma and Kurdish participants helped create the giant figures in Dewsbury and Huddersfield with support from arts group Creative Scene and funding from the West Yorkshire Police Commissioners Fund.
Holocaust survivor Iby Knill attended the memorial event and together with youngsters from Batley Girls High School appeared in a play to remember the events of the Holocaust and compared the treatment of refugees during that time with the experience of contemporary refugees across Europe.
The emotional journey experienced by the artists and trustees from the 6 million+ Charitable Trust when they visited Reggio Emilia in Italy, Lublin in Poland and Subotica in Serbia was portrayed to the audience followed by the personal stories of refugees now living in West Yorkshire.
The memorial event culminated in the lighting of candles of remembrance, which was led by the Mayor of Kirklees, Cllr Christine Iredale and Iby Knill. Jewish community leader Rudi Leavor then sang the Jewish Song of Mourning El Male Rachamim,which wasfollowed by a minute’s silence.
For the past four years, the University has commemorated Holocaust Memorial Day with a series of events and later this year the University is to become the home of the Holocaust Heritage and Learning Centre for the North.
You can view a summary of the evening in the video