Leeds commemorates 66th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz

The victims of the Holocaust and of other genocides will be remembered at Leeds Town Hall as part of the Holocaust Memorial Day 2011 with commemorative events and contributions by local people to this year’s theme ‘Untold Stories’.

As part of the commemorative events of this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day in Leeds, next Sunday 30 January 2011, Lord Mayor of Leeds Coun James McKenna, will lit a candle to remember all those victims of the Holocaust and of more recent genocides.

27 January 2011 marks the 66th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz Bikernau – the largest concentration camp during the World War II – and Leeds always has marked this day with commemorative events of its own organised by the Arts and Regeneration Unit. Leeds Town Hall will be the venue for a day of a varied programme of activities, which will include visual art by local schoolchildren, live music from the David Young Academy, a new piece of theatre from The Carriageworks – inspired by the story of Holocaust survivor Eugene Black – and various speeches and memorial prayers.

The Holocaust Memorial Day is celebrating amid fears of the rise of far right street protest movements in the country – the English Defence League is marching next 5 February to protest against the spread of Islamism in England -.

Lilian Black, Chair of the Holocaust Survivors Friendship Association (HSFA) and daughter of Auschwitz survivor Eugene Black said: “We are always concerned about the far right across all Europe including the UK – we are concerned about all forms of right wing extreme conservation politics of any persuasion which leads to violent extremism. Our talks delivered by survivors promote the message of harmony and better understanding amongst all, promoting respect and understanding of different people. We publicly reject all forms of scapegoating which lead to persecution and ultimately genocide.”

There are more events planned across Yorkshire to commemorate the Holocaust Memorial Day 2011. Dewsbury Town Hall is holding the ‘Untold Stories’ event, in which students from four Kirklees schools in collaboration with the Kirklees Museums and Galleries department will create a human rights campaign for the 21st century focused on the untold stories of child soldiers. Leeds based Auschwitz survivor Iby Knill will be supporting their work and speaking about the dangers of intolerance, and violent extremism.

She said: “I am not a politician but a dangerous situation raises poverty and inequality. I feel we have to get young people to realise, understand and respect differences. We are all human; we are all the same under the skin.”

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