Photo Gallery: Thousands commemorate the Holocaust in a memorial day across Britain
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015
Standing shoulder to shoulder in silent sorrow – this was the scene in thousands of towns and cities across Britain as the nation marked Holocaust Memorial Day.
Yesterday the millions killed, and the significant 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau were commemorated in a raft of events.
Memorial services included a national commemoration in central London, while 70 candles were lit at venues across the UK – one for each year since the liberation of the concentration camp in German-occupied Poland.
In Great Yarmouth prayers were said at the Jewish cemetery in Caister where around 50 people gathered to remember the attempted annihilation of Jews in Europe during the Second World War.
The ceremony also saw the symbolic sharing of bread to bring people together.
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Canon Chris Terry said: 'Today we gather to hold this simple act of remembrance because all of us have a duty to keep alive the memories of all those who lost their lives in the camps.
'With each passing year the actual survivors become fewer and fewer, yet for their descendents it remains more than a memory. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the liberating of the camps when the horror of what took place became clear to all.'
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Among those at the service and attending for the first time was Michael Zegerman, of Caister.
The 69-year-old said he had only recently discovered that his mother's aunt and uncle perished in Theresienstadt.
'My mother came out of Germany in the early 1930s,' he said. 'She went to South Africa settling in London in 1937 and they managed to get her parents out in 1939... I have only recently found out that my mother's aunt and uncle were murdered.
'I have come here today for the first time having read about previous services and I am moved that people are commemorating this event. British people seem to do this better than anyone else. It is quite moving.'
Meanwhile, in Lowestoft, at the spot where hundreds of Jewish refugees arrived in 1938, people gathered to remember those who did not escape the Holocaust.
Waveney District Council chairman Peter Collecott and Mayor Steven Ardley hung a wreath under the plaque commemorating Lowestoft's role in the Kindertransport program which brought Jewish children to the town to escape persecution in Europe.
Then, on behalf of all the young people in the town, Waveney Youh Council chairman and Benjamin Britten High School pupil Merynn Levett also placed a wreath.
This was followed by a service of commemoration at Ormiston Denes Academy which included pupils from Sir John Leman, Benjamin Britten, St Mary Roman Catholic and Ashley Academy schools.
The culmination of the event was a specially-designed memorial candle, which was lit by 93-year-old Lilian Tilbrook and 10-year-old Vialli McComb, followed by a minute of silent reflection.
Vialli, who goes to St Mary's Roman Catholic School, said: 'I felt honoured to light the candle... I've learnt a lot by being here today.'
The horrors were brought home in Norwich at an event encouraging people to learn by talking to those with a connection to the Holocaust.
SoMe was run in connection with the Outsiders organisation at the Forum and Nick Little, director of the Outsiders, said: 'We're trying to include as many people as possible in dialogue and using social media as a way of doing so.
'People have their conversations face-to-face and write about their experiences in tweet form and then we retweet them.'
Student Hannah-Lital Goldfinch, 17, said: 'I have blue eyes and blonde hair and would have been what Hitler was looking for in the Aryan race – but I'm Jewish.
'The Nazis tried to explain what they did was scientific by saying Jewish blood was contaminated. I like to think my appearance is a slap in the face to Hitler.'
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