‘DON’T Stand By’ was the theme of services held to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day across Worthing and Adur.
The millions of Jewish people murdered in the Holocaust – and all those who have perished as a result of subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur – were honoured across the UK today.
Worthing mayor Michael Donin laid a wreath under the Memorial Tree in Beach House Park, Worthing, this morning. He was joined by former mayor Tom Wye, who organised the service and, ten years ago, had the Memorial Tree planted.
Observers were invited to tie their own messages to to the tree after the mayor spoke. The wreath-laying followed an earlier service at Lancing College Prep School, also attended by the current and former mayors.
Explaining the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2016, Mr Wye, a councillor, told students that ‘the Holocaust and subsequent genocides took place because the local populations allowed insidious persecution to take root’.
He said: “Those who did not stand by whilst persecution took place were not only bravely acting as resisters and rescuers of individuals, they were also taking action against prevailing views and beliefs that saw some people’s lives as worth less than others.”
The mayor said: “The message, don’t stand by, is even more important than ever before because the biggest problem today is people’s apathy.
“The reason we are remembering the Holocaust today and continue to do so is to make sure that the children, and they’re the most important ones, are able to learn the lesson not to be apathetic, not to stand by – and to make sure this never happens again.”
Lancing students also gave readings, while the Rev Matthew Luff led prayers.
Roger Berlin recited the Kaddish, a Jewish memorial prayer, during the school’s services.
The Sir Robert Woodard Academy in Lancing also hosted a service, attended by Adur council chairman Carson Albury, local councillors, church leaders and community representatives.
The commemoration also included readings from students.
The Rev Hadge Hughes, who led the service, said: “The whole event was very moving and a reminder to our young people that we all have a responsibility not to stand by in the face of injustice but to make a stand against prejudice and hatred of any form.”
An exhibition for Anne Frank, the young diarist who charted life in Nazi-occupied Holland, is open at Worthing Town Hall this week.
It is open from 10am to 4pm with free admission, and schools, clubs and associations are invited to book.