Tributes paid at Imperial War Museum for the victims of genocide

Standard bearers close the memorial ceremony at The Imperial War Museum. Image: Tom Glasser

A memorial service has been held at The Imperial War Museum in London as part of a series of world-wide events to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

The service remembered the victims of all genocides on a day, the 27th of January, that is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet soldiers in 1945.

A moving service was held inside the museum.

This included testimony from Holocaust survivors, an address by Rabbi Dr Moshe Freedman of Northwood United Synagogue and a musical performance by Notre Dame Secondary School.

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, who co-hosted the event, wanted to stress the importance of remembering all victims of the Holocaust, along with all the victims of other genocides around the world.

These included the victims of genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Husband and wife of 62 years Avram and Vera Schaufeld, recounted their stories as Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. Avram, who was sent to Auschwitz at the age of 16 , remained there until the camp’s liberation.

The ceremony then moved outside to the adjacent Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park where there was a procession of standard bearers.

Next to the existing memorial, which remembers the millions of Soviet soldiers who lost their lives in WWII, representatives from various organisations paid their respects by laying wreaths at the base of a tree.

Some of the guests included: Councillor Sunil Chopra, Mayor of Southwark; the Russian Ambassador to the UK, Yakovenko Alexander Vladimirovich; and Lib Dem MP for Bermondsey, Simon Hughes.

Simon Hughes said the magnitude of the Holocaust reminded us all of the importance of nations overcoming their differences to prevent genocide from recurring again.

Other guests who laid wreathes represented LGBT communities, Jewish veterans, and the Communist parties of the UK.

A rendition of the Last Post led to two-minutes of silence to mark the end of the ceremony.

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