Faith leaders, representatives of the community, officials and school children from four different Islington schools gathered to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January, 2017 at Islington Town Hall.
Speakers, including Judith Fox of Islington Faiths Forum, spoke about the need to engage with people who were different from ourselves, whether in terms of religion or culture, and called for tolerance, respect and fair treatment of all members of society.
Seventy-two years after the first Jewish camps were liberated from the inhumane Nazi regime, speakers repeatedly called for peace, saying that conflicts and atrocities continued to abound in our world.
Gena Turghel, MBE, a survivor of Belsen and Auschwitz concentration camps, who lives in London, related her extraordinary tale of survival and escape from the Nazi regime, saying that her determination was to write her memoirs, I Light a Candle, ‘before I forget’, so that generations and generations to come ‘should never ever allow it to happen again.’ Councillor Comer-Schwartz, a quarter Jewish, shared the story of her grandfather who was a survivor of Dachau concentration camp. She concluded her experience, saying ‘don’t just let life go on, but help it to flourish.’
Muzna Al-Naib, a Syrian documentary film-maker and speaker on behalf of Syria Solidarity UK, spoke of the atrocities occurring in Syria at this moment, the tragedies for women and children especially, and the problem of millions of refugees and appealed to solidarity and humanity in common cause with Syrian people: ‘If you are not seeking to change your heart– you must have chosen your own political discourse over your humanity.’
In her closing remarks, Turghel said, ‘it is happening again; we are all human beings, we all want to be happy.’ She said that the reason Hitler had come to power is that he was ‘allowed to persecute people.’
Islington Faiths Forum