Moving service to honour the Holocaust dead

MOVING: The Holocaust memorial service outside the  D-Day Museum in Southsea.
MOVING: The Holocaust memorial service outside the D-Day Museum in Southsea.
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A SURVIVOR of the Auschwitz concentration camp spoke of how she was moved as almost 100 people gathered to remember the Holocaust.

Vera Forster, 86, watched as wreaths were laid at the Holocaust Memorial in Havant Cemetery and listened to emotional readings from members of the Jewish and gypsy communities.

The memorial day, held across the world every January 27, remembers the millions of Jewish, gypsy, Christian and gay people who were massacred under the Nazi regime – as well as the genocide that is still taking place today in some parts of the world.

Mrs Forster, from Gosport, told The News: ‘I came because I was there in Auschwitz.

‘We all know what it was like and there are not many of us left.

‘I am rather moved.

‘It was a moving experience to see all these people come here to remember.’

Gerald Shimbart, 66, a local councillor for Hart Plain ward, lost two family members, who were shot when Nazis stormed their Polish villages.

He said the bracing weather was appropriate for the day.

‘The cold is very reminiscent of what it must have been like at Auschwitz,’ he said.

‘The difference is we are wrapped up and they had nothing to wear.

‘It’s important that youngsters know what happened and what’s still happening in parts of the world in places like Somalia.’

Olive Ayres, 59, from Bordon, was representing the gypsy community with her husband Kenny. She said: ‘The great leaders of the world should never let this happen again.’

Poems written by year eight pupils from Warblington School were read out and schoolchildren from Crookhorn and Hayling Colleges and Havant Academy were there.

In Portsmouth, a service was held at the memorial tree outside the D-Day Museum.

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Paula Riches, led a bulb-planting ceremony.