Hackney tribute to victims of Holocaust and world genocide
PUBLISHED: 12:00 31 January 2015
More than 100 people, including a Holocaust survivor, paid their respects to those that lost their lives and suffered under the Nazi regime, as well as in other genocides around the world.
This year’s ceremony, at Hackney Town Hall on Tuesday, coincided with the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland, the largest Nazi death camp.
Speakers included 73-year-old Hannah Brief of Stoke Newington, who told her incredible story of survival after being captured by Nazis and taken to Stutthof concentration camp with her mother and siblings.
The prison in Poland claimed the lives of 80,000 people who were murdered, gassed, worked to death or who died of disease.
Ms Brief recalled having to eat grass and rotten potatoes and how her mother was put to “back-breaking” work, tree-felling with other prisoners.
Encouraging people to live in peace, she said: “We are one, mankind, and we all have different potentials. Like an orchestra with different instruments and players, we can’t harmonise on our own, but when we play together, it works.”
She also remembered how after surviving two more death camps – including Theirenstadt, the setting of a Nazi propaganda film – she was rescued by Soviet Forces and brought to Stoke Newington with her brother.
Luke Fisher, a Mossbourne Academy pupil who recently visited Auschwitz, said: “This had been the scariest, worst place in the world. Just because [the prisoners] had their individualism snatched from them, we can’t forget them.”
The service also featured traditional Jewish music, songs by the Year 6 choir of Simon Marks Primary School in Cazenove Road and a reading by Mossbourne student Eri Okoye.
Hackney Council’s speaker, Sharon Patrick, who laid a floral tribute, said: “We pause to reflect on what can happen when racism, prejudice and evil propaganda are left unchallenged.”.”
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