Fine turnout for ‘very moving’ Holocaust memorial ceremony
- Credit: Archant
Wreaths were laid as a town fell silent during a special service of remembrance.
Taking place at the spot where hundreds of young Jewish refugees had arrived in 1938, Holocaust Memorial Day was commemorated during a "very moving" ceremony at Lowestoft rail station on Monday, January 27.
Remembering, reflecting and "never forgetting" the role the town had played in welcoming 520 refugee children - who arrived as part of the Kindertransport initiative in 1938 - the service also marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
With Year nine drama students from Ormiston Denes Academy in Lowestoft performing the play 'Suitcase 1938' to a good turnout in the Parcels Office Exhibition Space at the rail station, a special Service of Remembrance was then held.
Members of the public, council representatives and Waveney MP Peter Aldous gathered to pay their respects to those who lost their lives during the Holocaust and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.
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In keeping with annual tradition, Lowestoft mayor Alice Taylor and Waveney Youth Council chairman Desaray Parish, 13, who attends SET Beccles School, laid wreaths in recognition of the arrival of the Kindertransport train at the station in December 1938.
The train carried 520 Jewish children who were escaping persecution prior to the outbreak of the Second World War.
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The service of reflection, led by Ben Parish from Lowestoft Community Church, also featured a moment of silence, readings and prayers.
In a speech at the ceremony, Mrs Taylor said: "Today on Holocaust Memorial Day and on this 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, we pause to remember and reflect about the worst that human beings can do to each other.
"But I also want to remember and reflect that even in the darkest of circumstances, there are shining examples of what is best in the human spirit.
"The example of the people of Lowestoft who came here in 1938 to welcome 520 children to safety demonstrates that the best examples of the human spirit can come from the tiny actions of the most ordinary people.
"We will never forget."
The mayor also thanked the Ormiston Denes Academy students for "a very, very touching, well thought out" performance of Suitcase 1938.
The civic service of reflection at Greater Anglia's Lowestoft station was arranged by Lowestoft Town Council and supported by the Wherry Lines Community Rail Partnership and the Lowestoft Central Project, who made the newly restored Parcels Office available.
Speaking afterwards, Waveney MP Peter Aldous said: "I thought the Ormiston Denes Academy students put on a very moving, thought-provoking play.
"The service was particularly moving this year given it is the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz."
Keeping the memory alive
Opening the Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations at Lowestoft rail station was a performance of a play highlighting the plight of the thousands of young people who arrived on the Kindertransport in 1938.
Ormiston Denes Academy's Year 9 students performed an adaptation of Suitcase 1938, a site specific piece that was first performed at Liverpool Street Station in 2008 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Kindertransport arriving in the UK.
With the performance warmly received by the audience, Julie Mayo, transition and co-curriculum projects manager at Ormiston Denes Academy, said: "Personally I was very proud of our students and their portrayal of this historical event.
"We were delighted that they were able to help 'keep the memory alive' in such an innovative and creative way."