Fragility of Freedom - Holocaust Memorial Day 2024

Southend-on-Sea City Council is inviting residents and visitors to be a part of the annual service of commemoration to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

Mr Ivan Shaw BEM sitting in a chair wearing a blue jumper

The council will once again come together to remember the victims and those affected by the Jewish Holocaust and subsequent atrocities, in the hope that there may be a day in the future with no genocide.  This year’s event reflects on the fragility of freedom, and how it is easy to take freedom for granted.

The commemoration service will take place on Sunday 28 January at 3pm at Southend Civic Centre, Victoria Avenue, Southend, SS2 6ER. The service will also be available to watch online from Tuesday 30 January at: Holocaust Memorial Day Online Service of Commemoration

The service will include music, poetry and readings, including a presentation from students at Southend High School for Girls and an address by holocaust survivor Mr Ivan Shaw BEM, accompanied by his son Philip Shaw. Ivan Shaw was born in 1939 in the former Yugoslavia, now Serbia.  His parents were deported to Auschwitz when he was 5 years old and did not return.  He was hidden for about 9 months and came to England in 1947.  He only began speaking about his experiences a few years ago, as the memories were “too painful”, but he was persuaded to tell his story.

Other events include:

Exhibitions of work dedicated to the unique stories of the Holocaust, are on display at The Forum from Tuesday 16 January, but will be moved to the Civic Centre on Friday 26 January for the commemoration service.

The Forum will also be hosting events in collaboration with The University of Essex on Thursday 25 January. A lantern-making workshop will be held during the day and a Procession of Light will take place starting outside The Forum at 6pm.

On Friday 26 January at midday, The Worshipful the Mayor of Southend, Cllr Stephen Habermel, along with the Jewish community leaders, will plant a tree at The Ridgeway, Chalkwell, in memory of those who perished in the Nazi death camps and other genocides across the world.

Cllr Tony Cox, leader of the council, said: “It’s vital that we remember the past to safeguard our future. Holocaust Memorial Day is an important nationally recognised day to honour all the victims and those who have suffered because of genocide.

“We must put aside our differences and come together and reflect on the fragility of our freedom in the hope that we can have a future where we never again experience the atrocities of genocide. I hope to see many of you at the services and exhibitions, and I look forward to welcoming our special guests to the commemoration at the Civic Centre.”

Attendance at all services listed above is free of charge, with no booking required.

For more information please visit: Holocaust Memorial Day Online Service of Commemoration

Published: 16th January 2024

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