Holocaust Memorial Day event in Haywards Heath

To mark Holocaust Memorial Day on Monday, January 27, Amnesty International and Haywards Heath Town Council will hold a special outdoor remembrance service.

Thursday, 9th January 2020, 4:44 pm
Irene Balls lights the Amnesty International candle to mark National Holocaust Memorial Day
Irene Balls lights the Amnesty International candle to mark National Holocaust Memorial Day

Mayor Alastair McPherson, will lead a procession of local school children from Haywards Heath Town Hall to the war memorial for the service.

Members of the Jewish community, other faith groups and the public will solemnly mark the Holocaust with prayers, hymns, readings and poetry.

Irene Balls, chair of Amnesty International Haywards Heath and former Haywards Heath Mayor said: “It is vital that the genocide of Jewish people is never ever forgotten.

"All the other victims of Nazism – and other genocides - must also be remembered.”

In a statement about the event, Amnesty International Haywards Heath Local Group said: "Seventy-five years ago, on 27 January 1945 units of the Soviet Red Army liberated Auschwitz, one of the most notorious of the Nazi death camps. Subsequently, the day was chosen as Holocaust Memorial Day.

"The Nazis murdered more than six million Jewish men, women and children, as well as hundreds of thousands of travellers, homosexuals, disabled people, Catholics, Russian prisoners of war, Polish civilians and others.

"In a string of extermination and slave camps across occupied Europe victims were gassed, shot, starved, worked and tortured to death.

"Over one million people were killed in Auschwitz alone, ninety percent of them Jews.

"The term “genocide” arose as a direct result of the Holocaust and became recognised as an international crime.

"It was not the first nor the last genocide of the 20th Century.

"The mass murder of Armenians by Turkish forces during World War I is also now recognised as genocide.

"Tragically, since World War II the pledge “Never Again” has proved not to have been the case: further genocides took place in Cambodia, Rwanda, Darfur (in Sudan) and Srebrenica (in Bosnia)."

Mrs Balls said: "If we forget the Holocaust, there is always a real danger of history being repeated.

"The current rise of anti-Semitism and other forms of racism, intolerance, bigotry and hatred is of grave concern, which we ignore at our peril."

All are welcome to attend the service at 2pm at the War Memorial, Muster Green, Haywards Heath.