Rabbi Maurice Michaels, minister of Bournemouth Reform Synagogue, visited local schools and churches as part of activities marking Holocaust Memorial Day.
Following the end of the Second World War, when the full horrors of the Nazi campaign to exterminate the Jews became apparent, the oft-heard phrase ‘never again’ was indicative of the real intention of world leaders to ensure that a similar genocide could not be repeated. But good intentions are never enough and the world has since seen atrocities in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur. And current events in Syria, Iraq and various places in Africa signify ‘no change’ rather than ‘never again’.
This was the theme of two visits that Rabbi Michaels made to local schools on Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD). Addressing an assembly at Talbot Heath, Bournemouth, he tried to personalise the enormity of the Holocaust by asking the girls to imagine leaving school with only a third of those who started. That was the impact of the Nazis’ ‘Final Solution’ on European Jewry.
Meeting with the Christian Union at Queen Elizabeth’s, Wimborne, Rabbi Michaels emphasised the need for people of all faiths and none to come together to protest at what is currently happening in the world to provide a populist support for political and religious leaders to take action to bring terrorism, in all its forms, under control.
On the Sunday before HMD, as guest preacher at St Peter’s, the Mother Church of Bournemouth, Rabbi Michaels stressed the strong relationship that has existed for decades between Jews and Christians in the UK. He also focussed on recent examples of anti-Semitism here and in Europe as we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
Rabbi Maurice also participated in the multi-faith Holocaust Memorial Day event at the Lighthouse Theatre in Poole and the unveiling of a plaque in the Bournemouth Gardens, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.