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County Hall illuminated for Holocaust Memorial Day

County Hall, Haverfordwest is to be lit purple to mark Holocaust Memorial Day (Pic: Pembrokeshire County Council)

HOLOCAUST Memorial Day will once again be recognised with the lighting up of County Hall in Haverfordwest on Saturday, January 27.

Holocaust Memorial Day marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, and remembers the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust and everyone killed in the more recent genocides that followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

The theme of this year’s commemoration is Fragility of Freedom; in every genocide that has taken place, those who are targeted for persecution have had their freedom restricted and removed, before many of them are murdered, often a subtle, slow process.

There is always a set of circumstances which occur, or which are created, to build the climate in which genocide can take place and in which perpetrator regimes can remove the freedoms of those they are targeting.

Haverfordwest’s County Hall will once again be lit purple in a simple act of remembrance, at the request of Neyland council, historian, and presiding member of the council Cllr Dr Simon Hancock.

“Holocaust Memorial Day is a solemn remembrance of the millions murdered by the Nazis during the Second World War and the date was chosen being the date of the liberation of Auschwitz in 1945,” said Cllr Hancock.

“It is essential the awful lessons of history are never forgotten especially given the more recent genocides like Rwanda. I am pleased Pembrokeshire County Council are marking this extremely important commemoration in this display of solidarity and respect.”

Pembrokeshire County Council Presiding Member Simon Hancock (Source: Pembrokeshire County Council webcast)

A special event is also taking place at Pembrokeshire College on Saturday, organised by Cleddau Community Arts, which runs from 12-3pm.

The organisers have stressed the event at Pembrokeshire College is non-political, with all religions welcome.

Organisers are also asking people to light a candle and put it in their window on Saturday, January 27, to mark the occasion.

The run-up to the Holocaust has been the subject of a recent film, One Life, in which British stockbroker Sir Nicholas Winton – played by Oscar winner Sir Anthony Hopkins – saved hundreds of, mainly Jewish, Czech children from the Nazis following a visit to Prague at the end of 1938.

London-born humanitarian Sir Nicholas worked alongside volunteers as well as his mother, played in the film by Helena Bonham Carter, to bring 669 children to the UK as part of the Kindertransport efforts.

The story of Sir Nicholas, who died in 2015 at the age of 106, was brought to the wider public’s attention by Dame Esther Rantzen in 1988 during a screening of the programme That’s Life.

The local press has previously joined pupils from Pembrokeshire in visiting Auschwitz, as part of the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz project.

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