Merton will be paying its respects to the past and building hope for the future when the council marks this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day with events across the borough at the end of this month.
Wednesday 27 January marks 65 years to the day since the date in 1945 on which the Soviet Army liberated the largest Nazi concentration camp – Auschwitz.
On Thursday 28 and Friday 29 January, Merton’s Civic Centre will exhibit information and artwork on the Holocaust and other genocides. This year’s theme is ‘The Legacy of Hope’ and the exhibition will look at how the Holocaust and its remembrance will impact on the future.
In partnership with Wimbledon film club, a screening of the Oscar nominated film Katyn will take place on 28 January at the new HMV Curzon cinema in Wimbledon with doors opening at 8pm.
Residents are also invited to a commemorative service being held at Merton Park Church Hall on Sunday 31 January from 2.00pm – 4.00pm. This event is open to all and will be attended by the Mayor of Merton, local councillors, Merton Council chief executive, Ged Curran and other dignitaries and groups from around the borough.
The annual events allow people from all backgrounds to be united in the fight for respect and dignity for everyone. This day encourages residents to remember the victims and survivors of Nazi persecution during the Holocaust, and those affected by subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. It also highlights the importance of remembering historical events such as the Holocaust and all forms of discrimination, persecution and racism from the past.
Mayor of Merton, Councillor Nick Draper said:
“The Holocaust is a lesson from history that we must never forget. Holocaust Memorial Day is an occasion to remember the horrors that prejudice and intolerance can bring about, and to celebrate the fact that whoever we are, wherever we come from, whatever our beliefs, we share a common humanity.”
Cabinet member for community safety and engagement, Councillor Henry Nelless said:
“Atrocities such as the Holocaust can occur when people do not stand up against racism and prejudice around them. In Merton we will not tolerate discrimination in any form and whilst we cannot change the past, we can certainly learn from it. That’s why it is vital that we remember what can happen if we do not challenge intolerance and injustice wherever we find it.”
· HMV Curzon can be found at 23 The Broadway, Wimbledon, SW19 1QB
· Katyn is a 2007 Polish film about the 1940 Katyn massacre, directed by Academy Honorary Award winner Andrzej Wajda. It holds a viewing certificate of 15. It will cost £3 for members of Wimbledon film club, £5 for non-members