Holocaust Memorial Day in Camden - Keeping the Memory Alive

PR 2564

The Mayor of Camden, local politicians, councillors and partner organisations gathered at the British Library on Tuesday 27 January for a moment of reflection to commemorate the Holocaust and subsequent genocides.

Camden was chosen by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust to light one of their 70th anniversary memorial candles designed by renowned sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor.

Following a welcome from the Mayor of Camden, Councillor Lazzaro Pietragnoli, keynote speaker Hilary Benn MP spoke briefly to the assembled guests.

He was followed by Milly Toomey, who recently attended Hampstead School, who read from the memoirs of a LGBT Holocaust survivor, and Hannah Morris, Camden Youth MP, who read an extract from the story of a survivor of the Srebrenica massacre. The memorial candle was then lit by Ruth Barnett, a Holocaust survivor, followed by a moment of reflection.

Councillor Pietragnoli, Mayor of Camden
In commemorating today, the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, we do commemorate the lives of the six million Jews who were killed by the Nazis in all the concentration camps, in all the ghettos, in all the mass-murdering taking place across Europe in the years 1939 to 1945. We do commemorate the gay people, the Roma people and the political opponents of the regime that were imprisoned and killed by the Nazis.And we do commemorate all the people who were killed in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda and Darfur, and this year, the 20th anniversary of the massacre in Srebrenica in Bosnia.

We also celebrate people who survived, the families destroyed by their grief, people whose lives were totally changed by the violence inflicted, the deportation and the humiliation.
Councillor Pietragnoli, Mayor of Camden

As part of the commemorative events, on Sunday 25 January the Mayor of Camden, together with JW3, 3FF, Rumi’s Cave, UK Jewish Film Festival, Islamic Society of Britain, Radical Middle Way and the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, brought together Muslim, Jewish and Christian faith and community leaders with national and local politicians to sign a declaration.

The declaration commits community leaders to work together to resist those who are encouraging xenophobia in our communities, to challenge all forms of anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim bigotry and to encourage, within their own communities, positive engagement with Britain’s democratic values.

This is part of the council’s work ‘to keep the memory alive’ and to improve community relations locally and nationally.


Notes to editors

The attached images show:

HMD candle - Camden’s 70th anniversary memorial candle designed by renowned sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor.

Hilary Benn MP – Key note speaker Hilary Benn MP

Candle lighting - The lighting of the memorial candle by Ruth Barnett, a Holocaust survivor.

Group shot HMD – (left to right) Ruth Barnett, Hannah Morris, Kristian Jensen, Head of Collections and Curation British Library, Councillor Sarah Hayward, Leader of Camden Council, Hilary Benn MP, Councillor Lazzaro Pietragnoli and Milly Toomey

Declaration signing - Front row: Sughra Ahmed, Rabbi Gluck, Cllr Sarah Hayward, Cllr Lazzaro Pietragnoli (Mayor),Natalie Bennett, Cllr Claire Louise Leyland, Dr Rebecca Johnson, Judy Ironside Back row: Stephen Shashoua, Mohammed Amin , Mehmed Stublla, Rexhep Bajrakatari, Shuja Shafi, ,HE Mal Berisha, Colin Bulka, HE Ambassador Lirim Greiçevci, Kosova, Michael Sternberg Will Blair, Cllr Sally Gimson, Trevor Pears, Cllr Phil Rosenberg, Abdein Bajraktari, Daniela Pears