Robert Rinder MBE leads Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations

To mark the start of Holocaust memorial weekend, Durham Cathedral held a special event inside the cathedral which saw speeches from Rob Rinder and Bernie Graham.

On Friday 26 January, Durham Cathedral held a event to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day, which saw Rob Rinder MBE and Bernie Graham deliver moving and thought provoking speeches, along with a spoken word performance from children from the Hermitage Academy and a performance from violists Katrina Blakey.

Holocaust Memorial Day is the day for everyone to remember the millions of people murdered in the Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution, and in the genocides which followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur. It is commemorated annually on 27 January, which coincides with the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration and extermination camp.

Rob and Bernie were part of the award-winning documentary series My Family, the Holocaust and Me, which helped British Jewish families trace the stories of their family, to understand their experiences of the Holocaust.

One of the leaders of the UK-wide school project ‘The Holocaust, Their Family, Me and Us’ which derived from the documentary series, also spoke about the aim to provide young people with an opportunity to reflect on the legacies of the Holocaust, through sharing their family history.

Also in attendance at the event was the Lord Lieutenant Sue Snowdon, pupils from the Hermitage Academy who delivered a spoken word performance which saw them recount Holocaust survivors stories. As the event came to a close, there was a special musical performance from Katrina Blakey who was accompanied by Grehan Bradley, Katrina is a St Leonards pupil and performed the theme from Schindler's List.

Closing the event the Dean of Durham, The Very Revd Dr Phillip Plyming, thanked all who had taken part in making the Holocaust Memorial Day event so special. He also spoke of why Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity to remember the evil of the holocaust and the reality of genocide both in the past and present, saying:

'In remembering today we have been invited to commit to a future where such evil does not take place. I know we all go away from here with that message in our hearts, and that many prayers will be offered for peace between nations and peoples.'