Barnet marks Holocaust Memorial Day
The Mayor and Leader of Barnet Council were joined by young singers, musicians, speakers and a Jewish survivor of the Nazi genocide to mark Holocaust Memorial Day on Sunday.
The event at the Rickett Quadrangle, Middlesex University, in The Burroughs, Hendon, was attended by hundreds of people, who came to commemorate victims of atrocities worldwide.
Greg Wishaw and Chloe Blott from East Barnet School read the Barnet statement of commitment and spoke of their visit to Auschwitz. There was music from The Barnet Band, Alyth Youth Singers, and the Youth Music Centre. Snowdrops were handed out at the end of the ceremony by students from Akiva School.
Also attending was Gordon Spencer, who lives in Barnet. Mr Spencer, who lit the memorial candle to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, was born Gunther Spiegel in Wurzburg, Bavaria, in 1930. When Hitler came to power his parents moved with him to Berlin where they felt the family would be safer.
In 1938 Gordon’s father was arrested and sent to the Dachau concentration camp along with thousands of Jewish men. He was freed after some weeks and fled to London aiming to bring the family with him as soon as possible. Gordon and his mother left Berlin on a Lufthansa flight to Croydon Airport on August 6, 1939, just three weeks before the outbreak of the Second World War. Most of Gordon’s wider family in Germany were murdered by the Nazis.
The speakers at the event were the Worshipful Mayor of Barnet, Councillor Reuben Thompstone, Leader of Barnet Council, Councillor Richard Cornelius, and Professor Tim Blackman from Middlesex University. They were joined by Fidelis Mironko, representative of the Rwandan High Commission, who spoke about the Holocaust and the 25th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda. He recited the words of the El Malei Rachamim, a Jewish prayer for the souls of those who have died.
Mayor Thompstone said: “It was an honour to join the residents of our borough in marking this important annual commemoration. We are a multicultural borough where people of all backgrounds can feel part of our wider community. This is something that we can all be grateful for, while we remember the horrors of Holocaust and genocide across the globe.”