Stamford Town Council and Peterborough Liberal Jewish Community mark Holocaust Memorial Day
A moving ceremony emphasized that “if you don’t learn from the past, you are doomed to repeat it”.
The Holocaust Remembrance Day took place on Friday (January 27) in front of the memorial stone in St Michael’s Churchyard, off Stamford High Street and saw a number of people gather to pay their respects.
Stamford Methodist Church Rev. Andrew Hollins led a prayer and explained that Holocaust Memorial Day is “a reminder that we should not forget a scar of history”.
He said: “Only by learning of the darkness of the world can we know where light is needed.”
Scott Coe, Stamford’s Poet Laureate, read a moving poem entitled Scratch Marks on a Wall, which touched on the atrocities faced by millions of Jews in Nazi concentration camps.
Daffodils were placed on the memorial to represent the yellow badges Jews were forced to wear by the Nazis before Graham Berkman of the Peterborough Liberal Jewish Community recited the Kaddish, a 13th-century prayer.
The Last Post was played by Julia Husbands, as was the Tekiah Gedolah, which she played on a shofar.
After the service, people gathered at Stamford Town Hall, where Janet Berkman of the Peterborough Liberal Jewish Community told the story of Oskar Czapski, her husband Peter’s cousin, who was sent to England by his parents with a pram.
According to her account, she said: “We shouldn’t forget.
“There are still similar acts of prejudice, discrimination and devaluation of human life that continue.
“If you don’t learn from the past, you’re doomed to repeat it.
“We’re at the point now where those who have had some of the worst experiences are no longer with us, so we need to remember their stories.”
Artwork by students on the theme of ‘common people’ was displayed in the courtroom at Stamford City Hall.
These included work by students at St Gilbert’s School who were inspired by a lesson given by the Rev. Peter Stevenson.
Rev. Stevenson was impressed by the drawings and addressed the Church’s responsibility to remember them.
“I come from the perspective that historically, the Christian church is responsible for the anti-Semitism that led to the Holocaust,” he said.
“But I am pleased that the Christian Church has learned from this and recognized the value of its unity with members of the Jewish Church.”
The art will be on display at City Hall until Friday (February 3).