Local pupils helped to ‘keep the memory alive’ today at East Ayrshire Council as part of an event to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
Pupils from Kilmarnock Academy, Park School, St Joseph’s, Grange, Doon and Cumnock Academies lit candles in memory of all those who lost their lives during the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Darfur and Bosnia. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the genocide in Bosnia.
Guests at the event were given well-researched presentations by the pupils on what they have learned about the Holocaust as well as powerful insights into visits that some of the pupils made to Auschwitz. Candles were then lit and a minute’s silence was held to remember the events of over 70 years ago.
Councillor Clare Maitland, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Equalities, Inclusion and Poverty, said: “Holocaust Memorial Day is a time when we seek to learn the lessons of the past and recognise that genocide does not just take place on its own: it’s a steady process which can begin if discrimination, racism and hatred are not checked and prevented.
“Sadly, in some parts of the world, genocide continues and we can’t let this happen. We all have a responsibility to do what we can in our everyday lives, in the way we speak, treat people and in the example we set to others, to create a safer, fairer future for everyone. Holocaust Memorial Day gives us an opportunity to examine history, some of it very recent indeed, learn from it, recognise what needs to change and move forward in a positive way.
“Based on the well-researched presentations and thoughts from our school pupils, it’s reassuring to know that young people are still learning lessons from the Holocaust and that they’re able to share their experiences with others.”