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The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan and the Chair of the London Assembly, Navin Shah AM will today (Monday 25) join Jewish community leaders and Holocaust survivors as part of a virtual

service ahead of Wednesday’s Holocaust Memorial Day.

The annual service, in collaboration with the Holocaust Educational Trust and Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, will commemorate victims of the Holocaust and those affected by other genocides. It will reflect on the depths humanity can sink to, but also the way individuals and communities can stand against this, under this year’s theme ‘Be the light in the darkness’. 

It will include speeches by the Mayor and Chair of the London Assembly, and a memorial prayer will be offered by Rabbi Barry Marcus MBE, Emeritus Rabbi of The Central Synagogue. The service will also include personal testimonies from Holocaust survivor Renee Salt BEM, genocide survivor Abdul Musa Adam as well as reflections from Holocaust Educational Trust Ambassadors from The Tiffin Girls’ School. Holocaust Educational Trust Ambassadors will also deliver the Holocaust Memorial Day Statement of Commitment.

Due to the pandemic, the ceremony has been pre-recorded and will be available to view virtually at 11am.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “The Holocaust marked one of the darkest chapters in human history and, although we are unable to meet in person to remember the millions of lives lost, it is important we still take the opportunity to reflect.

“This year’s theme ‘Be the light in the darkness’ is a call to action for each and every one of us, reminding us of our duty to stand up and speak out against prejudice, oppression and injustice wherever they may be found.”

Navin Shah AM, Chair of the London Assembly said: “Holocaust Memorial Day serves as a poignant reminder of the senseless loss of life through war, persecution and conflict. Today is an opportunity to educate current generations about the dangers of persecution, antisemitism, racism and discrimination in all its forms. The kind of history that must not ever be repeated. 

“This year’s Holocaust Memorial Day theme is Be the Light in the Darkness reminding us that we all have the power to make radical and lasting changes to bring about peace and take action to support those who face discrimination. We must show understanding to those who we perceive as different and celebrate diversity. We must report hate crimes if we see them. We must stand together with our neighbours, to speak out against divisive tactics. We must be the light in the darkness.”

Olivia Marks-Woldman OBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust said: “Today, the world is increasingly vulnerable to divisions and prejudices. By reminding ourselves of the worst that human beings can do to each other, we guard against identity-based hostility and persecution. 

“Whilst we cannot meet in person due to the pandemic, our virtual Holocaust Memorial Day UK Ceremony will still feature first-hand accounts of the experiences of people affected by the Holocaust and genocide. It is vitally important that we learn from their experiences.”

Karen Pollock CBE, Chief Executive, Holocaust Educational Trust said: “This year we mark Holocaust Memorial Day with City Hall in very different circumstances. We cannot come together as usual but we will still remember. 

“We pay tribute to our brave and beloved Holocaust survivors, who have become digital experts to continue to share their heart-breaking testimonies. And as the Holocaust moves from living history to just history, we will work harder to ensure that the six million Jewish men, women and children murdered by the Nazis are never forgotten.

“Despite the challenges today, we cannot cease in our resolve - with antisemitism and hatred continuing to be a blight on our societies, we need to learn about, and from, the horrors of history more than ever.”

 Photo by Steve Ibrom, Wikimedia commons.