Honor: Stormont leaders issue message of tolerance on Holocaust Remembrance Day

Holocaust Memorial Day is a poignant and poignant reminder of the dangers of allowing prejudice and hatred to go unchallenged, said First Secretary Paul Givan and Deputy First Secretary Michelle O’Neill.

They were among a number of people attending the annual regional memorial service hosted by the Executive Office in conjunction with the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and Belfast City Council.

The main speaker was Eva Clarke, who was born in April 1945 in the Mauthausen concentration camp.

Fifteen members of Eva’s family, including her father and three grandparents, were killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

She said: “Holocaust Remembrance Day gives people an opportunity to come together and reflect on what happened to families like mine.

“I hope it gets us all thinking about how we can ensure that any form of prejudice is challenged and that we recognize the power and impact of our decisions today.”

Mr Givan said: “Holocaust Remembrance Day is a time for all of us to remember the millions of people killed in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

“The theme of Holocaust Remembrance Day 2022 is ‘One Day’. Through our acts of remembrance together, we honor the survivors of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides, and challenge ourselves to learn the lessons from their experiences to ensure that one day such atrocities never happen again.”

Ms O’Neill said: “The Holocaust is a powerful reminder of what happens when prejudice and bigotry are allowed unexamined and unchallenged.

“And this commemoration is an opportunity for us to commemorate all those who have suffered from intolerance, hatred, racism and bigotry.

“Holocaust Remembrance Day is for everyone – people of all ages, all faiths and none; People from all cultures and backgrounds and all walks of life. And his message is more relevant than ever today, as prejudice and hate language are on the rise in so many places around the world.”

During the event, which was pre-taped for online broadcast due to the public health situation, Nazi survivor Walter Sekules lit the candle of remembrance and hope.

Walter’s family had to flee Austria in the late 1930s and were held in several Soviet internment camps before relocating to Co Down after World War II.

Belfast Mayor Kate Nicholl also spoke about the importance of speaking out against hate. “Holocaust Remembrance Day exists to ensure that we remember and learn from the atrocities of the past,” she said.

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