Remembering the Holocaust atrocity

Memorial candle lighters at Holocaust Memorial Day event.
Memorial candle lighters at Holocaust Memorial Day event.

It was perhaps the most heinous crime committed against fellow human beings, which saw six million Jews mercilessly butchered.

And to mark Holocaust Memorial Day East Dunbartonshire Council hosted a powerful and poignant event to commemorate those who never returned home.

People of all ages joined together to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day at Scotland’s national event last week.

A moving ceremony was held in Bishopbriggs Academy - combining powerful testimonies, music, art, drama and the lighting of memorial candles.

International speakers included author Saskia Tepe, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, and Umutesi Stewart, survivor of the Rwandan Genocide.

Guests - who included Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills John Swinney MSP - also heard from Bishopbriggs Academy pupils who had visited Auschwitz.

There were performances from East Dunbartonshire Senior Strings schools orchestra, Boclair Academy Creative Arts Group, Lenzie Academy S3 Drama Group and Bishopbriggs Academy Choir.

In addition, there was artwork on display from the Learning Centre at HMP Low Moss and Bishopbriggs Academy.

The Council has been working in partnership with Interfait Scotland and the Scottish Government to raise awareness of the 2017 Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) theme: “How can life go on?”

Provost of East Dunbartonshire, Councillor Una Walker, welcomed guests, who included representatives of a range of faith groups, community organisations, schools and community councils, as well as local and national politicians.

Provost Walker, said, “It was a genuine honour to host Scotland’s Holocaust Memorial event.

“Commemorating the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz helps the world to remember everyone affected by the Holocaust, as well as other terrible genocides around the world in places such as Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

“I want to pay tribute to everyone involved - particularly Saskia and Umutesi, who delivered incredibly powerful testimonies about the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide.

“It was an extremely poignant and thought-provoking event - and a timely reminder of why we must never forget the horrors of the past.”