The annual Holocaust Memorial Day 2007: ‘The Dignity of Difference, Same But Different’ was hosted by The Mayor of Merton, Councillor Geraldine Stanford, at Merton’s Civic Centre, on 28 January 2007.
Local residents from different religious, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, along with councillors from all the political parties in Merton attended the ceremony to pay their respects to the victims of the Holocaust.
Mr Jack Kagan, a Holocaust survivor from the town of Novogrudok in Belarus gave a speech about his personal experience. This speech was deeply moving and very informative. Mr Kagan commented, ‘Public reflection is the act of recognition.’
Councillor John Dehaney and his wife read out accounts from the Rwanda experience of genocide. Kemal Pervanic, a Bosnian Muslim now living in Merton, spoke about his experiences, which he recorded in his book The Killing Days.
Councillor Geraldine Stanford said: ‘In Merton we are proud of the rich diversity of our community – diversity in culture, race or faith – and we strive to work together to ensure community cohesion. The act of public commemoration shows we recognise and value differences.’