Victims and survivors remembered at Brent's Holocaust and Genocide Memorial Day
PUBLISHED: 14:11 29 January 2019 | UPDATED: 14:11 29 January 2019
"To forget the Holocaust is to kill twice" was the rallying cry as memorial candles were lit in Brent to remember victims of global genocides.
The daughter of would-be Hitler assassin Henry Wermuth joined members of Brent’s Youth Parliament (BYP) at Brent’s Holocaust and Genocide Memorial Day a week ago (Thu).
The event at Brent Civic Centre took inspiration from the words “torn from home”.
Ilana Metzger showed harrowing footage of Holocaust victims including the moment survivors, such as her skeletal father, were liberated from Auschwitz.
Henry, 96, was unable to attend, but Ilana continues to campaign on his behalf.
“People said it [the Holocaust] didn’t happen,” she said. “They need to read history books.”
Henry was transferred from one concentration camp to another, including Auschwitz.
He was 19 in 1942 when he escaped from a camp and attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler by derailing a train the Nazi leader was travelling on.
“Had he known what would happen next, he could have easily escaped,” said Ilana. “He was just doing his job – that’s how he could steal out one night.”
Imprisoned with his father, he did not know his mother and sister had already been murdered. They endured three more years of hard labour and starvation.
His father died eight days before they were liberated in 1945 after he was beaten on the head by a German prisoner.
She added: “He has no hatred – he doesn’t hate anybody. He says he’s not going to taint everybody with the same brush.”
BYP members spoke of genocides in Cambodia, in 1975; Bosnia 20 years later; and Darfur, which began in 2003 and continues. And they told the story of Jo Ingrabre, who survived the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Rabia Bhatti, from Remembering Sebrenica, spoke about the 8,000 Muslim men and boys murdered by Bosnian serbs.
The BYP then lit six memorial candles in remembrance of all victims before a minute’s silence was held. The London Cantorial Singers sung a memorial prayer and were joined by pupils from the Jewish Free School choir, who sung a lullaby.
Mayor of Brent Cllr Arshad Mahmood said: “We must stand together to make sure events like this never happen again.”