WWII survivors speak at Suffolk school for Holocaust Memorial Day
PUBLISHED: 14:25 28 January 2020 | UPDATED: 14:31 28 January 2020
Survivors of genocides across the world movingly spoke at a Holocaust Memorial Day event held in Suffolk about the importance of stamping out all forms of discrimination.
The theatre at St Felix School in Reydon, near Southwold, was full of students and members of the public to hear from those survived some of the worst conflicts and war crimes in human history.
After opening remarks from headteacher James Harrison, Nigel Spencer MBE gave a talk about the Kindertransport - where 10,000 children were moved from Nazi-occupied terrorities to safety in Britain and other countries.
He made special reference to the school's role at that time, when it opened its doors to accommodate 200 boys during the severe winter of 1938.
Speakers at the community-wide HMD event on Monday, January 27 included Evelyne Raphael, who spoke about her time in Vichy France in hiding from the Nazis having to hide in the cellar every time someone called at the front door.
Larry Lisner told the moving story of his late father who had been a survivor of Auschwitz, but suffered with the trauma of those memories until his death in 2003.
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Recognising the atrocities that followed, Ganza Gahizi spoke of his survival of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda, when he only nine years old.
Despite the harrowing loss of 50 members of his family, Mr Gahizi said he had managed to reach a point of healing and forgiveness.
His message chimed with the event's theme of 'stand together'.
Chris Ure, who helped organise the event, said: "A huge attendance of almost 200 people so well reflected the 2020 theme of 'stand together'.
"We so much wanted the whole community to come together to stand against intolerance and the language of hatred in our society, and that is what they did."
Fran D'Alcorn, former headmistress at St Felix School and one of the event organisers, added: "It is important that everyone should leave this school not just understanding the part Saint Felix School played, but also what can happen if extreme politics takes over."
The event ended with a performance of Klezmer music, which originated from the Jewish neighbourhood across eastern Europe in the 1700s, played by the four-piece Norwich-based band 'Klezmerized'.