HUNDREDS of people gathered at the Bournemouth International Centre to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

Around 500 members of the community looked on as seven candles were lit in memory of seven million people murdered in atrocities across the world.

It was a solemn moment as they watched the candles being lit as the theme song from the emotive Schindler's List played over the soundsystem.

And it wasn't just Jewish people that were remembered at this year's service, hosted by the Bournemouth and Poole Holocaust Memorial Committee.

Representatives from the disabled, gay, Tibetan, Muslim and Romani communities were asked to light the candles - one for each million people lost - shortly before Rabbi Adrian Jesner sang a prayer in Hebrew.

The English translation on the screen read: "God, full of mercy, who dwells on high, grant proper rest under the wings of the Divine Presence in the lofty levels of the holy and pure ones, who shine like the glory of the firmament, for the soul of our brokers the Jewish people, the holy and the pure, who fell at the hands of murderers, whose blood was spilled in Auschwitz, Belzec, Bergen Belsen, Dachau, Majdanek, Treblinka and the other camps of destruction in Europe."

Bournemouth councillor Lawrence Williams welcomed the congregation to yesterday's (JAN 31) event.

He said: "I'm delighted this event has now returned to Bournemouth. I'm here today not just as a Jew but also as the portfolio holder for equality and diversity. We're here to remember the six million Jews murdered in Germany but also gay men, disabled, the elderly and infirm, not to mention gypsies and others. On the rail tracks which led into Auschwitz there are poppies laid and on them reads 'never again'.

"Yet still in the news we have stories of people fleeing tyranny. Let's all gather strength from our differences and work hard to ensure such atrocities never happen again."

Six history students from St Peter's School gave a theatrical performance before the Wessex Chorus Community Choir took to the stage, each group continuing the day's theme of 'don't stand by'.

Lynda Ford-Horne, one of the organisers of the event, said: "Holocaust Memorial Day is a really important reminder. To say it was a gross tragedy is an understatement and yet genocides and mass killings continue in our world. We must resolve to learn the lessons of our past."