Religious and political leaders gathered in Cardiff on Friday to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, the international commemoration to remember the millions who died in the Holocaust and in subsequent genocides around the world.
This year’s theme was ‘Fragility of Freedom’. It comes 30 years since the Rwandan genocide which claimed the lives of one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Current conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine, and the thousands of lives lost, were also uppermost in the minds of those who attended.
In a solemn service at the Temple of Peace, in Cathays, Cllr Huw Thomas, the Leader of Cardiff Council, Cardiff’s Lord Mayor Cllr Bablin Molik and Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford joined the Rev Canon Stewart Lisk, the Honorary Chaplain to Cardiff Council, to honour the dead and the survivors of all genocides.
Cllr Thomas, who read a passage from Isaiah at the ceremony, said: “This year we came together in person for the first time since the pandemic to commemorate this anniversary. It is important we mark this annual occasion and poignant milestone and to reflect how carefully we can learn from these terrible events.”
The Lord Mayor, The Rt Hon Cllr Bablin Molik, in a statement of commitment, said: “We recognise that humanity is still scarred by the belief that race or religion or disability or sexuality makes some people’s lives worth less than others.
“Genocide, antisemitism, racism, xenophobia and discrimination still continue. We have a shared responsibility to fight these evils. We pledge to strengthen our efforts to promote education and research about the Holocaust and other genocides. We will do our utmost to make sure that the lessons of such events are fully learnt.”
Mark Drakeford said: “This year’s theme is a powerful reminder of how fragile freedom is. As we come together throughout Wales and the UK, we must never take our own freedom for granted and do what we can to strengthen freedom around the world.
“As individuals, communities, and friends, we stand against all forms of hate and show solidarity with all those who continue to suffer persecution.”
Others who joined the leaders to mark Holocaust Memorial Day included Holocaust survivor John Hadju MBE, Isam Agieb, a survivor of the genocide in Darfur, Western Sudan, Isaac Blake, a member of the Romani Cultural and Arts Company, along with representatives of the South Wales Jewish Representative Council, Stonewall Cymru, the Welsh Refugee Council and Disability Wales.