Poetry and Prayers for Holocaust Day

Warwick and the surrounding districts marked Holocaust Memorial Day at the Warwick War Memorial on Friday 26th January with poetry, prayers and readings, and more in-school projects than ever before.

Over a hundred people attended the event which was led by The Mayor of Warwick, Cllr. Oliver Jacques and Rev. Jonathan Hearn from St. Paul’s Church, and attended by Matt Western MP, who read the poem ‘The Butterfly’, written by Pavel Friedmann in the Terezin concentration camp in Czecholsovakia before he was transported to Auschwitz. The poem was found on a scrap of paper after the liberation.

Henrietta Jeffries, a pupil from King’s High read a poem that she had written herself addressing this year’s theme which is ‘The Fragility of Freedom’. There were more readings by pupils from Myton School and Warwick School, and particularly moving was the contribution from Aylesford School pupils Lucy Bicknell and Chloe Wan. They had travelled to Auschwitz in Poland as part of the ‘Lessons from Auschwitz Project’ sponsored by the Holocaust Educational Trust, and both said the experience had changed their lives, making them determined to be tolerant and kind to all races and groups.

There were more readings by Bea Baxter and Sam Warnock from Myton School, and Ryan Taylor from Warwick School. Other local schools involved in projects about the Holocaust were Coten End, Budbrooke and Evergreen schools.

After the Mayor of Warwick had laid a wreath, the ceremony concluded with the Memorial Prayer for the Victims of the Shoah, read by Clara Gutierrez from the Birmingham Progressive Synagogue.

Organiser, David Sternberg said, “We are proud that this annual Warwick event has continuing strong support from schools. It is important that we talk to the younger generations about all the genocides of the past, to ensure that we remain vigilant against prejudice and cruelty, and pledge ourselves to be respectful and kind to others.”