Holocaust Memorial Ceremony at City Hall

17 January 2014

The Greater London Authority (GLA) will hold its annual Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony in the Chamber at City Hall from 11am-11:45am on Monday 20 January. The theme of this year’s event is ‘Journeys’.

The ceremony will commemorate all those who were victims of the Holocaust and other acts of genocide. It will be opened by Darren Johnson AM, Chair of the London Assembly and include a reading by Mayor of London Boris Johnson. Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi to the Movement for Reform Judaism will deliver an address.

The ceremony will include personal testimony about the Holocaust from Steven Frank.

Steven was born in 1935 in the Netherlands. After the Nazi invasion his father joined the Dutch resistance where he organized false papers to enable people to flee to Switzerland.

In 1942 Steven’s father was betrayed and sent to Auschwitz where he was gassed while Steven, his mother and brothers journeyed though several camps before being liberated in Czechoslovakia by the Russian Army in May 1945.

The ceremony will also hear personal testimony from Sophie Masereka.

Sophie’s journey has led her to a nursing practice in London but it started growing up in Rwanda before and during the genocide.

Twenty years ago this year, like too many victims and survivors of the Holocaust and other genocides, Sophie witnessed the murder of her parents, brothers, sisters and neighbours.

The event will also include contributions from students from London schools who have participated in the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz Project. Music will be performed by Sophie Solomon, Artistic Director, Jewish Music Institute.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said:

“Holocaust Memorial Day is an opportunity for people of all ages and from all communities to remember the millions of people who lost their lives and the resilience of the survivors, many of whom were to make London their home. It is vitally important that we never forget and that we continue to learn from one of the most shameful periods in history.”

Chair of the London Assembly Darren Johnson AM said:

“For decades people across the world have gasped at the horror of the Holocaust and vowed ‘never again’. Twenty years on from the genocide in Rwanda we must remember that such vows are easily made but much harder to fulfil.

“That is why it is so important to hear the stories of the survivors of such atrocities, to share in some small way the pain caused by bigotry and intolerance on a gargantuan scale, and to promise that our heartfelt words ‘never again’ are matched by actions wherever genocide again stalks the land.”

The ceremony will be webcast live.

Media are invited to attend; public attendance is by invitation only.

Notes for Editors:

  1. The Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lesson’s from Auschwitz project conducts seminars with post-16 students. The four-part course incorporates a one-day visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
  2. Holocaust Memorial Day Trust