January 27th 1945 was the date of the liberation of Auschwitz Concentration Camp and this symbolic date is an annual day of international remembrance. The scale of events this year reflects the significance of this 70th anniversary of liberation.
The theme of this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day Assembly was ‘Keeping the Memory Alive’. As our students explained ‘we remember the stories of those who survived because they allow us to glimpse the lives of those who did not. We remember so that we find the strength to say ‘never again’ and mean it.’
Students shared poems, such as the anonymous ‘Jewish Shtetl’ (“And once there was a garden, and a child and a tree…”) and Martin Niemoller’s ‘First they came …’ with its powerful ending ‘And then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out for I was not a Jew. And then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.’ They also sensitively explained the events of the Holocaust, paid tribute to the victims of genocides around the world and shared stories from survivors, including that of Naftali-Duro Furst, a native of Bratislava and Eva Gross whose message is powerful in its simplicity: “Don’t hate, it is a terrible thing. Everyone is born innocent. There is no reason to hate.”
Their assembly closed with the reminder we all have roles to play in our communities; “a responsibility to refuse to believe stereotypes, negative ideas and prejudices. The responsibility we all have to keep the memory alive, to not forget, to make sure never again means exactly that.’
A small selection of photos from the assembly can be seen on the History Department twitter feed BISBHistory@Lindsay__Conway