Wigan residents asked to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day
The millions of people who were murdered by the Nazis and the victims of more recent genocides are remembered each year.
The annual commemoration falls on January 27, the day the infamous concentration camps at Auschwitz were liberated.
It is also a notable anniversary in Wigan this year as the 2021 events mark two decades of the borough coming together each year to remember the Holocaust and its victims.
Fittingly, therefore, it is former RE teacher Jean Hensey-Reynard, who has played a massive role in the annual Holocaust Memorial Day events locally, who will represent the borough in a Greater Manchester remembrance event.
Due to Covid-19 the usual public acts of remembrance cannot take place this year, but an event incorporating the city-region’s 10 local authorities will be streamed online.
One person from each borough will light a memorial candle during the service, with Jean doing the honours for Wigan.
She said: “I am honoured and delighted to be representing Wigan and Leigh in lighting the candle.
“This is something I have been involved with in schools and teaching young people across the borough for the last 20 years.
“It means a great deal to me. The theme for 2021 is Be The Light In The Darkness.
“The light is a symbol of hope this year when, with Covid, we are facing an enemy of a different type, an unseen one.”
Exact details of the online service are yet to be revealed but it is expected that a rabbi will lead the candle lighting and there will be moments of silence and reflection.
The mayors of the 10 borough are then expected to read out the pledge which commits them not to forget the lessons of history and to work towards a world free of hatred, prejudice and intolerance.
Artwork by pupils and staff from Bedford High School in Leigh based on the song Somewhere Over The Rainbow which was written by Jewish immigrants to America has also been sent to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) for inclusion in this year’s commemorations.
Jean has also suggested that residents light a memorial candle that evening as a mark of respect.
Wigan Council is urging residents to pause on Wednesday and remember some of the darkest periods in history.
Leader Coun David Molyneux said: “Holocaust Memorial Day emphasises the importance of communities joining together to help educate future generations on how they can help those who have survived genocides.
“We’re privileged to mark this significant time in our history with other boroughs in the Greater Manchester city-region to reflect and remember those who lost their lives.
“I’m glad that as a collective, we have found a digital and inclusive way to remember the events of the Holocaust, which is just as important today as it was 76 years ago when the Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated.”
Holocaust Memorial Day is on Wednesday, January 27. The streamed commemoration event starts at 10am and runs until 11.15am.
Watch the event online at www.facebook.com/MayorOfGM/
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