The first candle of 70 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau was lit on Sunday in a moving ceremony at Sunday’s Board of Deputies plenary session.
The candle, designed by sculptor Anish Kapoor, was lit by UJS president Ella Rose in the presence of Holocaust survivor and Holocaust Memorial Day Honorary President Ben Helfgott, who spoke about the need to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive.
Both Ms Rose and UJS Deputy President Josh Holt gave short readings before the candle lighting and Board Senior Vice President Laura Marks, who is also Vice Chair of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, read out the names of Deputies’ family members who had perished at the hands of the Nazis.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles pledged his support for the candle ceremonies. He said: “On Sunday, I attended the Board of Deputies where the first of these poignant ceremonies took place.
“I hope that as these ceremonies spread out across the country, they shine light on the darkness of the Holocaust, bring people together and allow us to remember what happens when respect and tolerance are forgotten. It is only through constant vigilance for the first signs of intolerance that we can hope to avoid atrocities like this occurring again.”
Ms Marks said: “Our ceremony was particularly special both by being the first of 70 memorials for HMD but also as we read out the names of our own murdered family and friends – our responsibility lives on.”