Local pupils helped to ‘keep the memory alive’ last week at East Ayrshire Council as part of an event to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
Pupils from Park School, and Loudoun, St Joseph’s and Kilmarnock Academies lit candles in memory of all those who lost their lives during the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.
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 recently 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 sit back on our laurels on this one. Here, discrimination has not ended, nor has the use of the language of hatred or exclusion. 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.”