The events of last week have been truly disturbing and upsetting and remain “hot topics” in our households and on Twitter accounts. The anti-Semitic remarks we have heard and read about, and the debate about the nature of anti-Semitism create a deep sense of concern, especially in the vile way in which attempts are being made to manipulate the truth of the Holocaust.
How do we take action when we are exposed to this kind of abuse and lies? The most appropriate way, coinciding with this week’s annual Yom HaShoah commemoration, has to be to stand up publicly to remember the true tragedy of the Holocaust, honour the memory of the victims and pay tribute to survivors and refugees.
Last year, being the 70th anniversary of the ending of the Second World War and the liberation of the concentration camps, our annual commemoration ceremony, was moved from the existing
National Memorial to the Victims of the Holocaust, at the Dell in Hyde Park, London, to the Barnet Copthall Stadium. This was to allow far greater numbers of our community to be able to attend, seated and under cover. The community responded magnificently to this special commemoration, with more than 5,000 attending. This compared to numbers of a maximum of 1,000 in previous years, who made the effort to go to the very inaccessible and exposed venue of the Dell.
With the tragic events in Paris, Brussels and elsewhere in Europe since last year’s commemoration and these recent events here, there is no better way to combat both terror and manipulative lies, than by us all gathering together, in even larger numbers, to commemorate and remember.
Holocaust commemoration and remembrance, combined with Holocaust education, are the only ways of ensuring that the truth about the Shoah, the unbelievable suffering of the victims and the bravery of the survivors and refugees are never forgotten and can never be manipulated.
This year’s ceremony is being held this Sunday, 8 May, at the Barnet Copthall Stadium. Admission and parking are free. Doors open at 12.30pm, with the ceremony starting at 2pm prompt. It will bring together survivors, refugees and ex-service personnel who will be joined by Jewish communal and religious leaders across the whole spectrum of our community, together with representatives of more than 100 Jewish communal organisations which support this annual event. They will be joined by – and we will especially welcome – representatives of national and local organisations.
The ‘family-friendly’ ceremony will last around 90 minutes, during which we will hear and, as always, be inspired by the experiences of survivors and refugees, musical interludes, singing of choirs and, once again, be joined by children from many Jewish schools, who will also sing songs written for these occasions.
For security purposes, it is important that tickets, although free, are booked in advance and online booking will remain open until 10am on Sunday morning. Attending without booking will involve lengthy queuing and delays to check in.
Please join the many thousands who have already been allocated tickets, to ensure that this is the largest ever gathering at a commemoration event. It will continue to define the most appropriate contemporary message for ourselves and future generations, which we must not – and will not – allow to be distorted by others.
• To book your tickets for this year’s Yom HaShoah National Commemoration Ceremony see www.yomhashoah.org.uk/nationalevent