Staff and students from schools across Bolton came together yesterday to commemorate the Holocaust Memorial Day, 72 years after the liberation of Auschwitz.
The event held at UTC Bolton featured readings, prayer and musical performances by pupils, and community and civic leaders.
The service began with a short performance of the theme from Schindler’s List by the Bolton School Boys’ Division Violin Quartet before an introductory speech by the Vicar of Bolton Canon Matt Thompson.
The Mayor of Bolton, Cllr Lynda Byrne, said: ‘Sadly, over the years and even today, we can witness the acts of genocide, which has resulted in innocent people having to go through unbelievable hardship, sufferings and inhumane treatment.
‘It is important that we do make time to remember victims of such atrocities in which mainly innocent people lost their lives. These atrocities deprive such communities of their basic rights, their dignity and ultimately their lives.’
The speech was followed by the lighting of candles by children from eight schools in Bolton as well as by community and religious leaders.
UTC Bolton pupil Patrick Jevons gave a reading of a self-penned poem both heartfelt and sincere as a close to a selection of readings from other pupils from across the borough.
The Bitter Escape
This place runs of our fears,
The children cannot cry anymore,
As they ran out of tears,
Many, of the other captured Jews have gone insane forgetting their own lore,
However, I’ve not
I will escape the executioner block,
I’ll not let them have the pleasure of killing me, by the showering of toxic gas
I need to survive especially for the family I left behind, I just need to get pass that roadblock,
Then slip through the cracks in the wall making the guards easy to pass
And I‘m free, at last I can smell the fresh air, now I must journey home
I’m home, at last I’m home,
The door wide open, something wrong,
This place was once lively, joyful place now it has turned into a catacomb,
I’m forced to move like it’s my Swan song,
To see that my wife and child are lying in a bed of their own crimson demise
I can’t… I can’t stop looking at their lifeless faces, I don’t want to believe this to be true
My heart is shattering as my final beacon of hope that was keeping me going has been smashed,
The soldiers must have done this, they must have done this because I’ve escaped… They… They have left a clue,
I begin to cry as I notice the soul driven, tormented body of my son dripping an eerily dark liquid from his back, I couldn’t help feeling they’ve taken my son away…
A poppy was formed from the mixture of the strange liquid and blood revealing they had mark my son with same mark that had taken my life from me, my prisoner ID number code…
The soldiers are here, wearing red bands on their arms ready to cart away another broken man,
He puts up no fight embracing his fate, seemly encouraging death to take him home already,
Death, seem like his redeeming plan,
Wait, he just snatched the soldier gun and now he’s holding it to his own head steady,
Thank you for listening to my poem, I created this poem not to show the heroism shown during World War two but the inhumanity it had. Friends betrayed one another, families were torn apart and some people were taken from history completely. Just know that we shouldn’t just remember the fierce battle-harden war heroes but the people who didn’t know that they would die, the innocent civilians living normal everyday lives just hoping to get to their next payday not their death sentence. So please remember, so this genocide of million people will never happen again in anyone life time because we as a human race barely coped with the last one.
By Patrick Jevons
Rabbi Joseph Lever of the United Synagogue performed a Jewish Memorial Prayer called Hazkarah spoken in English and in Hebrew.
Cllr Linda Thomas, deputy leader of Bolton Council, concluded the ceremony.
‘I am proud to say, we in Bolton have been a welcoming town for many such communities who in turn have enriched our town with their own traditions and cultures,’ she said.
‘We in Bolton are particularly proud of the work we do for community cohesion and support the various faiths, community groups and numerous organisations who work in partnership to enhance peace, harmony and building trust between communities.’