Family members of Auschwitz survivors attend Holocaust Memorial Day event in Havant
MORE THAN 100 pupils, residents and councillors have gathered to mark Holocaust Memorial Day in Havant.
A minute’s silence was observed before wreaths were laid at the Holocaust Memorial in New Lane Cemetery, in Eastern Road at 11.30am on Monday January 27, the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp.
Steven Schrier, the former treasurer of the Havant Conservative Association, said the event brought back ‘poignant’ memories of his own family’s struggle to survive the prosecution of Jewish people in Nazi Germany.
The Hayling Island resident’s cousins Renate Lasker-Harpprecht and Anita Lasker-Wallfisch were sent to Auschwitz in November 1943, with cello-playing Anita being inducted into a prisoner orchestra to provide marches as prisoners left the camp for enforced labour every day.
The 82-year-old said: ‘They never talked about it. It was only 10 years ago they said, ‘why did you never ask about our experiences, we wanted to talk to you about it.’
‘But we thought they didn’t want to be reminded.’
Speaking about the memorial event, Mr Schrier said: ‘I’m pleased so many young people were there.
‘It’s vital we remember. You still hear a lot of low level verbal anti-semitism .’
Students from Hayling College on Hayling Island, The Cowplain School in Waterlooville, and Park Community School in Leigh Park attended the ceremony and read a selection of poems.
During the wreath laying, Hayling College student Anwen Simpkin played the theme to the Schindler’s List, the movie depicting a German businessman’s efforts to save his Jewish employees during the Nazi regime.
Twelve-year-old Anwen said: ‘The service was extremely moving, and I felt very honoured to be part of it.’
Mayor of Havant Diana Patrick also read the poem ‘We Remember Them’ by Sylvann Kamens and Rabbi Jack Riemer, and was joined by the the Mayor of Fareham Pamela Bryant and the Mayor of Winchester Eleanor Bell.
Councillor Patrick said said: ‘The service was incredibly moving.
‘I was delighted to see so many of my fellow mayors at the event – it hasn’t seen so many attend before, as far as I can remember.’
In 2007 Havant Borough Council provided the Holocaust Memorial, which stainless steel forming the flame logo of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.