Holocaust service in Havant highlights the power of words

Students from The Cowplain School reading Holocaust memorial poems
Students from The Cowplain School reading Holocaust memorial poems
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MORE THAN 100 pupils, residents and councillors gathered in tribute to those who died in the Holocaust.

Havant Borough councillor Gerald Shimbart led a service with the theme The Power of Words at the Holocaust memorial in New Lane Cemetery in honour of Holocaust Memorial Day this weekend.

Cllr Shimbart said: ‘This year’s theme is The Power of Words as they really do hold so much.

‘And it is so important to remember what happened all those years ago and help future generations to understand so that it never happens again.’

Students from The Cowplain School in Waterlooville and Park Community School in Leigh Park attended the ceremony and did readings.

Deputy Headteacher Nick Brockhurst said: ‘Our school has been coming to this event for the past 10 years and we think it is important that the children learn about the Holocaust in lessons.’

Year 8 pupil Jakob Racklyeft read a quotation by Martin Niemoller: ‘First they came for the socialists’.

The 13-year-old said: ‘I think we need to learn about the Holocaust as lots of people were affected by it.’

Mayor of Havant Councillor Elaine Shimbart also read a piece about words used as propaganda to persecute ethnic groups.

Cllr Shimbart said: ‘This service grows each year and it is great to have the students doing readings as well.’

After the ceremony, everyone was invited back to the Council’s Public Services Plaza to hear a presentation from Holocaust survivor William Bergman.

The 84-year-old told The News that his experience as a child in Nazi Germany was one he wanted to share.

William added: ‘It was terrifying. But I think it is important to tell the youngsters what happened as this should never happen again.’