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Holocaust Memorial Day 2017 at Finchley Reform Synagogue

“I have learned to have more appreciation towards people who have had a dark past due to someone’s selfish acts”.

This comment came from one of the young people who took part in Finchley Reform Synagogue‘s Holocaust Memorial Day events in January and February, for local school pupils in years 9 and 10 and trainee teachers, to show them how the Holocaust has a bearing on them today and remind them that genocide continues.

This year, 560 school students and 130 student teachers took part. Guests included Dame Janet Ritterman,Chancellor of Middlesex University; David Longstaff, Mayor of Barnet (pictured lighting a memorial candle) and London Assembly Member Andrew Dismore.

The theme for the Holocaust Memorial Day 2017 was ‘How can life go on?’ Each session included a talk given by one or more of ten Holocaust survivors, proving their determination to survive and rebuild their lives.

“I hope your story and those of other survivors can be used to learn from history’s mistakes in times such as these”.

For many pupils, this was the first time they had been inside a synagogue and for some, the first they had heard of the Holocaust: “I learned that the Germans invaded Poland, built a ghetto and forced the Jews to starve to death there”.

The lessons of Holocaust Memorial Day are particularly relevant to the problems in the world today: “I understand how you felt. I haven’t seen my mother in Syria for 5 years”.

More volunteers are always welcome. To find out more, contact Jon Freedman in the FRS office

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