By Ian Dipple Monday 28 January 2013 Updated: 28/01 15:46
REDDITCH marked Holocaust Memorial Day with a message of hope that future genocide can be prevented.
A sizeable crowd gathered in the Kingfisher Shopping Centre on Saturday (January 26) to take part in a moving ceremony which honoured the memory of the six million Jews and millions of others killed at the hands of the Nazis, as well as those who suffered other genocides such as in Rwanda.
During the ceremony the crowd heard from Dr Martin Stern, a holocaust survivor who as a child suffered in Nazi camps in Westerbork and Theresienstadt.
"Holocaust Memorial Day commemorates one of the most horrific and massive horrors of human history but since the Holocaust there have been other genocides, over 50 of them," he said.
"People need to understand the history, but knowing the history is not enough, there is more.
"We are beginning to understand why it is that people behave in such ways. It's not all down to a few monsters like Hitler and Stalin and so on.
"We know it's ordinary people that commit such horrors and my interest is in why that is so."
Astwood Bank First School choir started the ceremony by performing Let There Be Peace on Earth and Make Me A Channel of Your Peace while there were readings from Redditch MP Karen Lumley, Mayor Alan Mason and Harry Bishop and Chloe Bates, representing the youth of Redditch.
Members of Redditch's diverse community also took part in the ceremony, including Danuta Zdanko, of the Polish Youth Group, who told the crowd: "I'd like to give a strong message to the youth of our town that genocide must never be forgotten."
Those present then took part in the act of commitment, pledging to be aware of and fight ideas and attitudes that could lead to genocide and not to ignore inhumane acts.
There was also a poignant moment as the crowd placed white roses in baskets as a way of humanising those who had their humanity and dignity deprived in death.
Afterwards the crowd gathered at the Holocaust Marker outside St Stephen's Church for a brief reading of a Holocaust poem, followed by a talk by Dr Stern at Redditch Town Hall.
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