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Holocaust memorial day commemorated at Lighthouse
SOME 600 people gathered at the Lighthouse in Poole to mark Holocaust Memorial Day yesterday, and hear the harrowing life-story of a survivor.
The memorial day has been observed on January 27 – the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp – every year since it started in 2001 and commemorates not only the Holocaust but other genocides around the world.
At the Lighthouse the audience, which included several Holocaust survivors, watched candles being lit by local representatives from religious faiths, including Rabbi Yossie Alper-owitz, Imam Majid Yasin and town centre priest the Reverend Dr Ian Terry.
They also watched a dramatic youth theatre representation of oppression starring youngsters from Forest Forge Youth Theatre, Oak Lodge Special School, Dorset School of Acting and St Aldhem’s Academy.
Holocaust survivor Janine Webber then spoke about her experiences as a Jew growing up in Nazi-occupied Poland, where she was born in 1932.
Mrs Webber was living with her mother, father, grandmother and younger brother in a flat in Lvov when it was seized by the Germans, after which they were transferred to a ghetto.
While there her father was shot, her mother died from an illness, and her seven-year-old brother was shot by an SS soldier who mysteriously spared her life.
Her grandmother was also killed, and she was variously looked after by her aunt and uncle, by Catholic families who took her in, although one betrayed her, and in a hole in the ground with 13 other people.
Thanks to false papers provided by her uncle she survived the war, one of only a handful of Lvov’s population of 120,000 Jews to escape death and the Final Solution.
After the event she said: “It was partly my son and partly my psychologist who persuaded me to tell my story, and I am glad I took their advice.
“What I don’t want is for what happened to my family to be forgotten, and by telling my story I ensure they live on.”
Organiser Lynda Ford-Horne, of the Bournemouth and Poole Holocaust Memorial Day Committee, said: “You never know how well these things are going until afterwards, but we have had a lot of really positive feedback.
“To have 600 people here is great, we really did our best to spread the word by contacting synagogues and community groups and using social media.”