Barnet Council’s annual commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day took place at the weekend and was attended by a range of local figures, including Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet, and Matthew Offord, MP for Hendon.
The event was opened by Cllr David Longstaff, chair of the council’s Community Leadership Committee and speakers included the Mayor of Barnet, Cllr Brian Salinger, the leader of the council, Cllr Richard Cornelius, the Borough Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Simon Rose, Vice Chancellor of Middlesex University, Professor Tim Blackman, and the chair of the Yad Vashem Foundation in the UK, Simon Bentley.
Musical performances were given by the London Cantorial Singers, the Alyth Youth Choir, and the Barnet Band. Prayers were recited by the Reverend Bernd Koschland and Rabbi Mark Goldsmith.
Following the event, Theresa Villiers said “I have been attending Barnet’s annual Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration for many years. It is a solemn and moving occasion. I always value this opportunity to reflect on the appalling events of the Holocaust and remember its many victims.”
“We heard very powerful speeches today from the Mayor, the leader of the council, and others. The contribution made by Woodhouse College sixth former, Lela Cordess, really stood out. She spoke about a visit she had made to the Auschwitz Birkenau concentration camp and the deep impression it had made on her.”
“Lela and all other speakers emphasised the crucial importance of speaking out against hatred and anti-Semitism wherever it occurs. We are a diverse community in Barnet where people from many different backgrounds live and work successfully and harmoniously together. This annual event is an important opportunity for us to come together to emphasise our shared commitment to mutual respect for different faiths and cultures. Holocaust Memorial Day always provides a reminder of the terrible harm can result if anti-Semitism and racism is allowed to go unchallenged.”
The event was hosted by Middlesex University in the Ricketts Quadrangle in The Burroughs in Hendon on Sunday 28th January.