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Council mark Holocaust Memorial Day

Bridgend County Borough Council marked Holocaust Memorial Day 2020 recently with a poignant public event, held at the Sony Theatre, Bridgend College.

Members of the public joined the Mayor of Bridgend County Borough, the High Sheriff of Mid Glamorgan, councillors, staff from South Wales Police, members of the Jewish community and pupils from local secondary schools and Bridgend College students to remember the victims and honour the survivors of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

Over 130 people attended the event, which was held in partnership with Bridgend College, to hear special guest, Ganza Gahizi, survivor of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, speak movingly about his personal experiences of losing over 50 members of his family during the genocide.

The theme for the 2020 event, which is provided by the Holocaust Memorial Trust was ‘Stand Together’ and aimed to encourage attendees to stand together with their friends, colleagues and neighbours to speak out against oppression.

We have held this event publicly, for a number of years now, to provide as many residents as possible with the chance to come together and honour both the victims and the survivors of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. I am completely in awe of how Ganza spoke so movingly about his own personal experiences, as well as the many other poignant contributions we have heard today.

I’m sure this year’s theme, ‘Stand Together’, has made us all reflect on our duty as members of our own communities to stand together against racism, discrimination, prejudice and exclusion. It’s vital for us all to reflect, remember and learn from the past and that is why we in Bridgend County Borough commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day in the way that we do each year.

Tragically, anti-Semitism, hatred and genocide has not been confined to the history books but still takes place around the world. So, we all need to unite as human beings and ask ourselves what we can do collectively, to stand up against all forms of prejudice and hate to create a safer world for current and future generations.

Bridgend County Borough Council’s Leader, Councillor Huw David

As part of the ceremony, the traditional ‘Seven Statements of Commitment’ were read by community representatives and a candle of remembrance was lit by Mayor of Bridgend County Borough, Councillor Stuart Baldwin. A twenty second silence was also held to remember the lives that were tragically lost.

In addition, Reverend Rachel Wheeler from Bridgend United Church read a prayer in both Welsh and English. To close the event, Bridgend College Performing Arts students performed ‘She used to be mine’ by Sara Bareilles and ‘Long way from home’ from the movie, ‘Pretty Woman.’

As the founder of a successful charitable organisation, Healing Plan, Ganza’s aim is to provide care for orphans in Rwanda and Uganda ensuring they have access to food and clean water, education, medical care and accommodation. More details on ‘Healing Plan’ can be found at www.healingplan.co.uk
Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) encourages the remembrance of Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD), the international day on 27 January to remember the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, alongside the millions of other people killed under Nazi Persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.
27 January marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. To find out more about Holocaust Memorial Trust, visit: www.hmd.org.uk

For general enquiries, please contact Bridgend County Borough Council's customer contact centre:

Telephone: 01656 643643
Opening hours:

09:00 to 17:00 Monday to Thursday; 
09:00 to 16:30 Friday.

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