Students and Parents of Start-Rite Day Secondary school commemorated and honoured victims of the Holocaust on International Holocaust Remembrance Day with an assembly dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust which occurred during WWII.
The assembly paid tribute, to the victims of the Holocaust on 27th January which is Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) and the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland.
During the assembly, a minute’s silence was observed.
The assembly featured a talk from the Principal, Mr. Philip Reynolds, who stated: “It’s a time for us all to pause to remember the millions of people whose lives have been changed beyond recognition during the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and in subsequent genocides such as Rwanda”. Mr. Reynolds stated that today is a day for the world to remember the six million Jews and millions of other minorities who were killed by the Nazis during WWII. He also highlighted specific cases and the suffering of different victims such as Jewish, Gypsies, Jehovah’s witnesses, and others. He talked of other genocides that had taken place since such as in Cambodia, Yugoslavia, Bosnia, Darfur, and Rwanda and the ways in which they repeated a pattern starting by a rhetoric of hate followed by exclusion and isolation leading to killings. He urged children to be aware of this pattern and to ‘never forget’ so that we truly say ‘never again’. He highlighted that genocide is still happening today and one must never forget the lessons of the past. He stated that this was an opportunity to enforce the character value for the term Tolerance: Embracing our differences.
The students who have been learning about the Holocaust and other genocides throughout the month paid tribute with drama and a music performance showcasing a traditional dance from Rwanda in memory of the victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. The children’s message was clear; 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 when discrimination, racism, and hatred are allowed to become established. Only when this is checked and prevented can we can truly say ‘never again’.