Holocaust Memorial Day marked in St Helens

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An exhibition highlighting the life of a Holocaust hero has been unveiled at St Helens Central Library.

The Champion of the Child exhibition, courtesy of the Jewish Museum, London, will be displayed in the library until tomorrow (Thursday).

It pays homage to Janusk Korczak, the much loved Polish orphanage director and children’s author who repeatedly refused sanctuary to stay with the children, before being led to his death at Treblinka Extermination Camp.

To celebrate its arrival in St Helens - residents and council representatives, including the Mayor and Mayoress, Councillors Steve and Lynn Glover, were joined by Rev Martin Wood of the Wesley Methodist Church and Mandy Penellum from the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, for a lighting of candles ceremony in Central Library which also took place in all 13 libraries across the borough.

Coun Jeanie Bell, portfolio holder for libraries, said: “We are very fortunate to have such an enthralling exhibition right on our doorstep which people should check out while it’s around.”

Meanwhile, to commemorate today’s (Wednesday) Holocaust Memorial Day, St Helens Council will hosted a special service at the town hall at 10am.

The public service will included a dance performance by Carmel College students titled ‘Tik Vah’ – Hebrew for ‘Hope’.

Primary school pupils from Merton Bank and The District C of E will be joined by secondary school students from Haydock and De la Salle, as well as pupils from Mill Green, for readings and the lighting of candles – to commemorate this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day 2016 theme of ‘Don’t Stand By’.

Coun Bell added: “Holocaust Memorial Day is about remembering the victims and those whose lives have been changed beyond recognition of the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and the ongoing atrocities throughout the world today.

“Holocaust Memorial Day provides us with an opportunity for all the diverse strands of our communities to come together, to honour the survivors but it's also a chance to look to our own lives and communities today.

“For those able to attend the town hall service, I would encourage you to do so because it really is a fitting ceremony.”

St Helens Council will also show its support for Holocaust Memorial Day by flying the No Place for Hate flag above the town hall – and would like to encourage as many people as possible to sign an online pledge to show they will do all they can to tackle hate crime.

Hate crime is any offence or incident committed against individuals, groups and communities because of who they are. It is an act motivated by someone's prejudice towards another person because of his or her age, disability, gender identity, race, religion or belief or sexuality.

A range of local agencies supports the St Helens No Place for Hate Campaign and individuals who sign a pledge help tackle hate crime in St Helens.

Coun Richard McCauley, portfolio holder for safer communities, said: “The events of the Holocaust challenge us all to look at our behaviour towards others and to learn from the lessons of the past.

“We’re not at risk of genocide in the UK, but discrimination, racism and hatred has not ended and we will continue to use the St Helens No Place for Hate campaign to raise awareness and encourage victims to come forward.

“I urge people to show their support and sign the pledge."