This year the Council event took place on 28th January at the Town hall.
We started with a candle lighting ceremony with the Mayor reading the Croydon pledge and a speech from Marilyn Arbissman, read by John Kerbel, and from the Leader of the council. He mentioned that there had been an article in the paper over the weekend which said 1 in 20 people didn’t believe the Holocaust had happened. This is quite shocking but as we have been holding the memorial event in Croydon for 18 years and as this is something that is taught in both History and Religious education lessons in Croydon schools it is hoped that this statistic is not true of Croydon citizens.
The event following the ceremony had two schools presenting thoughts on The Holocaust and on the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. A film had been made of a member of the Croydon Synagogue, who at the age of 6 was taken from a small village to Auschwitz where the rest of his family died. This moving account was followed by a speaker from Rwanda, Chantel Uwamahoro, who spoke about her experiences.
Pupils in Croydon schools had been invited to write an essay on this year’s theme ‘Torn from Home’, this was organised by Croydon Standing Advisory Council on religious Education (SACRE) and the winner Emily May Taylor from Oasis Coulsdon and the runner up, Jake Dennis from Whitgift school, were given certificates and read their essays out. The winning school was also presented with a set of Jewish artefacts to enhance their lessons. A couple of sixth form pupils from Harris South Norwood gave their very profound thoughts on the Lessons from the Holocaust project which introduces pupils to a survivor and takes them to visit Auschwitz.
Finally, a string quartet from Whitgift school played the theme tune from Schindler’s list. The whole event was compared by Cllr Ali and the considerable audience was given refreshments provided by the Mayor.