A short service in memory of those who died in the Holocaust or whose lives were changed as a result was held for the first time in Stamford on Friday last week.
January 27 marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp, and the aim of the national memorial day is to remember all those who were affected.
The Rev Andy Fyall, from Trinity Methodist Church, decided to host the memorial day in Stamford for the first time after spotting a memorial stone in St Michael’s Churchyard, off the High Street.
About 30 people attended the event, which was held at 11am at the memorial stone in the newly-refurbished churchyard. Those gathered included local residents, members of the local Jewish community and Stamford town councillors.
The numbers of those from different groups murdered during the Holocaust were read out - 5.93 million Jewish people, between two and three million Soviet prisoners of war, two million ethnic Polish people, 300,000 to 500,000 Serbians, 270,000 disabled people, 90,000 to 220,000 Romani Gypsies, 80,000 to 200,000 Freemasons, 20,000-25,000 Slovenes, 5,000 to 15,000 homosexuals, 2,500 and 5,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses and 7,000 Spanish republicans), together with a reminder of the victims of genocide since the Second World War.
It should be remembered that all these men, women and children were killed, not because of anything they had done, but simply because of who they were.
Mayor of Stamford John Dawson laid daffodils at the memorial, a flower chosen because the yellow colour and six-petal arrangement is redolent of the yellow Star of David badge that Jewish people were forced to wear under the Nazi regime in Europe. Others present then laid their own personal tributes.
The Jewish Prayer El Male Rachamim was read in English, followed by Last Post, a two minutes’ silence and then Reveille, the trumpet being played by Lawrence Hayes, a Year 10 pupil at Stamford School.
Graham Berkman, a member of the Peterborough Liberal Jewish Community then said Kaddish, movingly in Hebrew, and this was followed by a Christian Holocaust prayer by the Rev Philip Hall, which was read by the Rev Andy Fyall, representing Stamford’s Christian community, who concluded proceedings with Aaron’s Blessing.
It is now intended that this commemoration should be an annual event.