On Monday 27th January Essex Primary School were lucky to be invited to participate in the Holocaust Memorial Day event, held at Stratford Town Hall. The event was attended by the Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz, Councillor Joshua Garfield, Althea Loderick (Chief Executive of Newham Council), Lord Parry Mitchell of Hampstead and representatives from many faiths in Newham.
The theme for this year was “Stand together” focusing on how people can oppose genocidal regimes by coming together to speak out against oppression. Two key speakers were invited to give their testimonies, John Hajdu MBE (a holocaust survivor) and Arnesa Buljusmic-Kustura (a Bosnian genocide survivor). Both speakers grabbed the attention of the hall with their emotion presentations of their experiences, making the children realise how lucky they were. In between the testimonies were presentations from a number of schools in Newham which included poems, readings, music and songs. A group of our pupils were invited to attend and participate with 6 pupils from Year 5 reading a poem by Charles N Whittaker named “Auschwitz”. The event ended with a minute of quiet reflection and a Candle lighting ceremony – each of 6 candles representing 1 million people that had died. Our pupils were visibly moved by the event and represented our school in a respectful and responsible way. It was an honour to be part of the Newham event.