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Victims of Holocaust remembered at special services in Weymouth and Dorchester
VICTIMS of the Holocaust were remembered at services in Weymouth and Dorchester.
Rabbi Pete Tobias, who regularly appears in Pause for Thought on Chris Evans’s BBC Radio Two show, joined a congregation of more than 40 people in Radipole Gardens in Weymouth.
The annual event is an international day of remembrance for the victims and survivors of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur and Tibet.
Among those gathered were the Mayor of Weymouth and Portland Margaret Leicester and the leader of the Jewish community in Weymouth, Lord Morris Mendoza.
There was a series of readings and psalms and Rabbi Tobias led Jewish prayers.
The group also marked the planting of a new tree in the garden after vandals destroyed the Holocaust Memorial Tree in November.
Lord Mendoza said the turnout was ‘fantastic’.
He said that as well as a time to reflect on the past, it was also a time for people to ask questions of themselves.
He said: “It’s a time to think.”
The service fell on Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish holiday known as the New Year for Trees.
Lord Mendoza said: “It’s a time for the planting of trees, it’s important that we do it.”
Rabbi Tobias said the day was about ‘hope as well as despair’.
He said: “The fact that the vast majority of human beings recognise there was something wrong and that behaving in that way towards fellow humans is not acceptable means there’s hope.”
Building bridges and seeing past differences was the theme of Holocaust Memorial Day in Dorchester.
Organisers said learning about the genocide which took place in the Second World War will stop race hate in the future. Schoolchildren, members of the Jewish community and councillors gathered at the Corn Exchange to hear stories about those persecuted during the Holocaust and in subsequent atrocities.
Anne-Marie Vincent, president of the South West Multi-Cultural Network said: “The Holocaust is a prime example of what can happen when people are intolerant.
“Today is about building awareness and building bridges.
“We can learn lessons from what’s happened in the past and stop persecution happening in the future.”
The event also concentrated on the persecution of Romani gypsy travellers who were sent to concentration camps during the Nazi reign.
Jane Silver-Corren, who works with schools across the south west to educate children about acceptance, said: “By the end of the day, they can see that we’re not all that different and they are very accepting.”
Dorchester Mayor Andy Canning said: “The Holocaust should be kept fresh in people’s minds to make sure that nothing like this will ever happen in the future.”