The people of Southwark gathered in Mary Harmsworth Park today to remember the victims of the Holocaust in a brief but dignified ceremony.
January 27th marks the day in 1945 when the Auschwitz/Birkenau concentration camp, where over one million people lost their lives, was liberated from the Nazis.
Normally, the ceremony continues inside the museum, where in recent years testimonies from Holocaust survivors have been read to a large crowd, but due to the covid-19 restrictions the ceremony remained outside this year.
The morning’s proceedings were conducted by representatives from the Soviet War Memorial Trust (SWMT) and the Mayor of Southwark, who hold the ceremony annually in the shadow of Southwark’s Imperial War Museum.
In a short address to the gathered crowd, the Mayor reflected on the importance of continued remembrance so that those days of unspeakable tragedy may never be forgotten. He emphasised that our collective tribute be paid to the people, not the politicians, not the nations, not the states but the victims of a genocide that we must continue to learn ‘bitter’ lessons from.
The Mayor was joined by the Belarussian Ambassador, the Russian deputy Ambassador and representatives from a range of local organisations and institutions who took turns laying wreaths and letters of remembrance beside the Soviet War Memorial and Holocaust Memorial Tree.
The last post was played, drowning out the nearby traffic and bringing to mind the lives lost. A two-minute silence followed, before Philip Matthews, the chair of the Soviet War Memorial Trust, made his closing remarks.
Inside the Imperial War Museum, the Holocaust Galleries tells the individual stories of some of the six million Jewish people who died during the Holocaust. The exhibition is permanent and free to the museum’s visitors.
— Southwark News (@Southwark_News) January 27, 2022