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SWT supports Holocaust Memorial Day

23 January 2020 : Community, Council news

Representatives from SWT will be taking part in a memorial event to commemorate victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides.

The Mayor of Taunton, Cllr Fran Smith, will lay a wreath alongside the Lord Lieutenant of Somerset, Annie Maw, at the Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration in St John the Evangelist Church on Monday 27 January.

The Chair of SWT, Cllr Hazel Prior-Sankey, and the Leader of the Council, Cllr Federica Smith Roberts, will also be present at the service co-ordinated by the St Johns Holocaust Memorial Day Group.

The event is part of an annual international day of commemoration organised by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) which this year also marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

This year’s theme, ‘Stand Together’, explores how genocidal regimes throughout history have deliberately fractured societies by marginalising certain groups. It also looks at how these tactics can be challenged by individuals standing together with their neighbours and speaking out against oppression.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts, said: “SWT is honoured to stand with the people of Taunton and those around the world to
bear witness for those who endured genocide and to honour the survivors.
Together we can learn more about the past and take action to create a safer future.

SWT has adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism in line with central government and its encouragement of local authorities to follow suit.

“This is a clear signal of the Council’s intolerance for anti-Semitism and will help our Council and our community identify the types of actions that may be anti-Semitic so that these can be robustly challenged.”

Everyone is welcome to attend the Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration, which takes place between 12.30pm and 1.30pm, and will include music, readings and the lighting of candles.

Revd Jane Eastell, Associate Vicar at St John the Evangelist Church, said: “We are also pleased this year to have contributions from students at two schools in the area emphasising our commitment to keep HMD alive among younger people and to ‘stand together’ with people not only of differing groupings but also of differing ages.”

The HMDT website has information on Holocaust Memorial Day.