Genocide dead remembered at Stamford service

Holocaust Memorial Day service in Stamford. By Lee Hellwing.
Holocaust Memorial Day service in Stamford. By Lee Hellwing.
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Residents remembered those who died in genocides at a service at St Michael’s Church graveyard in Stamford.

The moving service organised by Stamford Town Council to commemorate those killed in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur was held on Holocaust Memorial Day on Friday (January 26).

Holocaust Memorial Day service in Stamford. By Lee Hellwing.

Holocaust Memorial Day service in Stamford. By Lee Hellwing.

Poems were read as part of the ceremony, including one written by local school children and college students, including Stamford School’s Charlie Boyle.

Attending was 92-year-old Stamford woman Eva Aldbrook, who is of Jewish origin, and was evacuated when she was a child from Germany to England in 1938 prior to the Second World War.

Eva, whose great aunt died in a Nazi concentration camp, said: “It [the ceremony] was wonderful, after all these years, I think it is terribly moving that people here can remember – it is so easily forgotten.”

As part of the ceremony, Stamford School pupil Lawrence Hayes played Last Post on the bugle, before two minutes’ silence was observed.Catholic and Jewish prayers were also read.

Holocaust Memorial Day service in Stamford. By Lee Hellwing.

Holocaust Memorial Day service in Stamford. By Lee Hellwing.

The ceremony culminated with the laying of daffodils and a yahrzeit candle, which was lit in memory of Jewish dead.

Stamford mayor Tony Story said it was important to hold events like this to remind people “what can happen when control is lost”.

After the service, those present were invited to Stamford Town Hall to view the exhibition of work from local schools on the theme of genocide.

A moving performance by New College Stamford performing arts students took place at the exhibition. It told the story of the Srebrenica genocide in 1995 which saw more than 8,000 Muslim Bosniaks murdered.

The performance of Elena’s Story was scripted by the students , who did not know anything about the genocide when they were first commissioned to perform it, and it was based on the account of a survivor.

Adam Fox, a performing arts lecturer at the college, said: “I think it is important that we remember these things so they don’t happen again.”