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City to stage Holocaust memorial events

21/01/13

A week-long series of events will take place in Aberdeen to mark the Holocaust memorial.

The Holocaust Memorial Candle. Aberdeen City Council and Multi ethnic Aberdeen Limited (MeAL), together with city schools, the University of Aberdeen, SHMU FM, Aberdeen College and Aberdeen Hebrew Congregation will host the events across the city.

The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2013 is Communities Together: Build a Bridge, which asks us whether individually or as groups to remember how hatred and persecution have fractured communities and turned neighbours against each other. The theme emphasises the need to show respect for others and to make links, forge connections and reach out to different communities to create a safer and better future.

The events will give people the opportunity to remember the crimes of the Nazi period and other more recent atrocities, and reflect on how such crimes can be prevented from happening again. The chosen date for Holocaust Memorial Day, 27 January, is the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp by the Soviet Union in 1945.

The events in Aberdeen include seven main activities, starting tomorrow [Tuesday, 22 January] when school pupils talk about their experience of visiting Auschwitz on the radio show Over the Rainbow on SHMU FM - 99.8fm from 9-10am. The show will be repeated on Thursday from 3-4pm.

On Thursday [24 January], the public can join the free screening of the film Downfall at the Belmont Cinema from 7-10pm. Dr. Alan Marcus will lead a discussion following the film.

Aberdeen City Council will mark Holocaust Memorial Day at the Town House on Friday [25 January].The commemoration will start at 2pm with a formal opening by Lord Provost George Adam.

The program includes a talk by Matt Biskup, the grandson of Holocaust survivors; musical performances by Aberdeen school pupils and a World Cafe discussion at the Town and County Hall. All are welcome to attend.

Those attending Aberdeen City Council's Memorial Day will also have the opportunity to sign the Holocaust Memorial Book. Entry to the Town House and Town and County Hall is by the main door on Union Street. Entrance for guests with mobility difficulties is available via the Queen Street entrance.

A Witness Walk, organised by city schools, will take place on Saturday [26 January]. The walk will begin at Victoria Bridge at 9:45am. Aberdeen Hebrew Congregation will join the walk, which all are invited to take part in, and there will be memorial poems read on the five bridges visited by the walkers. Refreshments and Aberdeen rolls will be available free at Goals after the walk.

A puzzle bridge decorated and gathered by local pupils and members of the public to demonstrate how different we all are. It will be displayed on Sunday [26 January] in the Bon Accord centre from 1-3pm. Pupils and teachers involved in the Holocaust Educational Trust's trip to Auschwitz will sing the Holocaust Memorial Day song A Bridge of Voice. There will also be readings from Comfort Rwanda and pupils from St. Machar Academy, Kincorth Academy, Portlethen Academy and Albyn School. Matt Biskup.

Later that day, the Belmont Cinema will host free screenings of In Place of Death and In the Birch Grove from 4-6pm.In this Director's Cut Masterclass, Dr. Alan Marcus, the film maker and Head of Film at the University of Aberdeen will hold a question and answer session.

Build a Bridge: Communities Together Week will finish on Tuesday, 29 January, with radio show Over the Rainbow on SHMU FM - 99.8fm, which will tell the story of inspiration Holocaust survivor Kitty Hart Moxton. The show will be repeated on Thursday, 1 February from 3-4pm.

Holocaust Memorial Day remembers all the victims of the Nazis – including Jewish people, Gypsy/Travellers and people persecuted because of their sexual orientation, as well as those who suffered and died in other acts of genocide. It aims to highlight the dangers of anti-Semitism, racism and intolerant discrimination

Multi Ethnic Aberdeen Limited business development manager Alayne Jones said: "On Holocaust Memorial Day 2013, we are encouraging communities to come together to remember victims of the Holocaust and those whose lives have been affected by exclusion and hatred in subsequent genocides.

"We hope people will come along to our events and take the opportunity to think about how they can connect with others within our community in a positive, forward-thinking way."

Holocaust Memorial Day Trust chief executive Olivia Marks-Woldman said: "Holocaust Memorial Day is about learning from the past to build a better future; it is about promoting equality, respect and understanding. This year, we are asking people to build bridges within their community by signing an online statement. We hope people used the day to consider the part they can play in creating a safer, better future."