Holocaust Memorial Day to be commemorated in Harwich

Each year on January 27th Holocaust Memorial Day is commemorated, as this is the anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1945. This day also honours the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism to help prevent future genocides. Holocaust Memorial Day was established by the Government in 2000, with the first activities held the following year.

Following the unveiling of the Kindertransport memorial on the Harwich Quayside on 1 September 2022, Harwich Town Council believes that there is now a fitting focal point to honour Holocaust Memorial Day. This is also a time to reflect on the brave parents that took the decision to send their children to safety in Britain, while they faced their unfortunate fate, with most perishing in the Holocaust.

A ceremony will take place on Friday, 27th January at 11am to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and will be marked with candles and floral tributes that will be placed at the Kindertransport memorial on the Harwich quayside. The first tribute will be laid by the Mayor of Harwich, Cllr. Ivan Henderson, on behalf of the town. The town welcomes all that wish to pay their respects by inviting them to add their own candle or floral tribute.  A minute’s silence will be observed, and a short poem will be read by a member of the local Jewish community.

The Mayor of Harwich, Cllr. Ivan Henderson, says, “The Kindertransport Memorial recognises Harwich’s role in the protection of many thousands of Jewish children through the Kindertransport, but it also offers a focal point for us to remember and reflect on the horror of the Holocaust. It is only a small act of remembrance and reflection, but Harwich Town Council believes it to be an important one.  We invite all those wishing to attend or to lay their own tribute to join us at the memorial on Holocaust Memorial Day.”

Mike Levy, Chair of the Harwich Kindertransport Memorial and Learning Trust states, “The installation of this memorial is to serve as a reminder of the kindness the Harwich townspeople played in welcoming thousands of Jewish children that escaped from Nazi occupied Europe to safety in Britain on the Kindertransport, a humanitarian rescue mission. This memorial is a fitting place to commemorate this inauspicious day, reflect on the past, and look towards a kinder future.”

As an extension of the Kindertransport memorial, a new project is underway to identify and record testimonials of the unsung heroes – the families that took in Kinder that arrived in the UK. If you know of these families, please contact Mike Levy at kindertransport4@gmail.com.

In addition to the event held in Harwich, you are also invited to an event on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day, 26th January 2022.  This is the National online event, which will be from 7pm to 8pm on Thursday 26th January, with registration via the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust: Holocaust Memorial Day Trust | HMD 2023 UK Online Commemoration.

For further information please contact:

Cllr. Garry Calver