Holocaust Day in Sandbach

Holocaust Day in Sandbach

In 2014, former Cheshire East Council leader Michael Jones started the celebration to mark Holocaust Day with a service at Sandbach Town Hall.

Since then the event has been held annually in Sandbach and this year the authority took on the responsibility for arranging the service and keeping the day in the events diary.

Cheshire East Mayor Cllr Hilda Gaddum opened the proceedings at 10.30am followed by an address from the council’s deputy leader David Brown.

Sandbach Mayor Gill Merry then read the poem, “Then they came” by Pastor Martin Niemoller, which talks about people not wishing to stop atrocities’ because it doesn’t affect them personally until it happens to them.

This was followed by a performance from Sandbach School pupils Toby Brady (Flute), Ben Longwell and Harley Hambrook and an address from Rabbi Chanan Atlas of the Yeshurun Hebrew Congregation of Cheadle and Gatley which celebrates 50 years in the area.

The event closed as usual with the lighting of candles by those in the hall and a minutes silence to remember those caught up in the Holocaust between 1941 and 1945, the Nazi Persecution between 1933 and 1945, the Genocide in Cambodia 1975 to 1979, the Rwanda Genocide in 1994 and the on-going Genocide in Darfur 2003 to today, as well as any other atrocities carried out against human beliefs.

Celebrated in Britain since January 2001 the Holocaust Day has been held on the 27 January each year as it was the date that marks the liberation of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp by Russian forces.

In 2015 there were 3,600 local events to mark the occasion in the UK. There has also been a national memorial event held in London in 2001, 2005 and continually since 2010. It has also been held in Manchester (2002), Edinburgh (2003), Belfast (2004), Cardiff (2006), Newcastle (2007), Liverpool (2008) and Coventry in 2009.

The origin of the event surprisingly goes back to Germany in 1996 when the held an “Anniversary for the Victims of National Socialism” day which was later adopted in Italy and Poland who held similar events.

On the 10 June 1999 Andrew Dismore MP asked the Prime Minister at the time, Tony Blair if a Holocaust memorial day could be set up in Britain and after a consultation with forty four Government representatives in Stockholm the 27 January was adopted in those countries to mark the day.

In 2005 the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust was set up by the Department for Communities and Local Government to promote the day and help in setting up events.

In ending this story I would have liked to have had advance notice of the event as it did seem to be just for Cheshire East Councillors and invited guests as apart from a couple of posters round the town distributed by Town Hall Conference and Events Manager (Sandbach Town Council) Richard Husdan there was nothing on the Cheshire East Website that I could find, nor was there any mention in the Cheshire East Mayor’s diary available via Cheshire East.

Each year I am sure there are local people and Cheshire East Jews who would like to attend the only event held in the area on this day.

Nantwich held a service on the previous Sunday marking the day to remember so next year could Cheshire East make a fuss of the event and invite us all.

Pictured are Deputy Leader of Cheshire East Council, Cllr David Brown, Sandbach Town Mayor Cllr Gill Merry, Cheshire East Mayor Cllr Hilda Gaddum, Toby Brady (Flute), Ben Longwell and Harley Hambrook.

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