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National landmarks bathed in purple light to mark Holocaust Memorial Day

Written by on 27/01/2021

National landmarks have been bathed in purple light and people lit candles in their windows to remember the millions of Jewish people killed in the Holocaust.

Seventy-six years to the day since Auschwitz was liberated, Wembley Stadium, Cardiff Castle and the Tyne Bridge were among the structures lit at 8pm following an hour-long online remembrance ceremony.

The theme of this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day, chosen 18 months ago, is “be the light in the darkness” – something especially apt as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

A candle was lit in a window in 10 Downing Street
Image: A candle was lit in a window in 10 Downing Street

Prince Charles, who is patron of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, told the ceremony that the “last generation of living witnesses is tragically passing from this world, so the task of bearing witness falls to us”.

It is a task for “all people, all generations, and all time”, he said.

The Duchess of Cambridge, Premier League footballers Jordan Henderson and Bruno Fernandes, and the prime minister have also been supporting the act of remembrance.

Kate was reunited with two Holocaust survivors she first met in 2017.

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Zigi Shipper, 91 and Manfred Goldberg, 90, were sent to the Stutthof concentration camp near Gdansk in Poland by the Nazis when they were just 14.

The Duchess told them their dedication to educating the younger generation showed “extreme strength and such bravery”.

NHS staff contributed to the online ceremony
Image: NHS staff contributed to the online ceremony

The prime minister has described the testimonies of a concentration camp survivor and a British soldier who helped liberate Bergen-Belsen as “perhaps the most powerful things I have ever heard”.

During PMQs last week, Boris Johnson spoke of the “need to continue to inoculate our populations, ourselves, against the wretched virus of anti-Semitism, which has a tendency to recur and re-infect societies including, tragically, our own”.

The leader of the opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, and Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, read a poem during the ceremony.

NHS staff also took part.

The Chineke! Orchestra played at the ceremony
Image: The Chineke! Orchestra played at the ceremony

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said survivors are the perfect inspiration during the COVID-19 crisis.

Those she has been speaking to, many of whom are shielding, are the “epitome of strength and are getting on with it”, she said.

“Bearing in mind what they have experienced and suffered, they give words of wisdom to just keep going,” she added.

“I find that pretty inspiring from 90-year-old survivors who have been through the very worst and could easily let this get on top of them. But this says a lot about them because they really are remarkable.”

 Sky News

© Sky News 2020

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