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Holocaust Memorial Day vigils and events
Friday 2nd February 2018 @ 20:27 by Nigel Skinner
Community Mossley & Saddleworth News Oldham Town Royton

Holocaust Memorial Day was remembered across Oldham with numerous  events being held across the borough.

It has been 73 years since the liberation of Auschwitz on January 27,1945 and Holocaust Memorial Day remembers all those who lost their lives.

But it also remembers the victims of subsequent genocides such as the Rwandan genocide of 1994, the Cambodian genocide between 1975 to 1979, Bosnia and Darfur, just to name a few.

The memorial day was established by The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and the first day was held in 2001.

The theme of this year’s event was “The power of words” exploring how language has been used in the past, and how it is used in the present.

TREE PLANTING: At Oldham Hulme Grammar School.

Locally events began on Friday at Oldham Hulme Grammar School, where two whole school assemblies were held in the build up to a special tree planting ceremony on Friday.

With this year’s theme being ‘The Power of Words’ the assemblies saw Year 12 drama students produce two very powerful performances that saw students play the roles of survivors from a number of genocides including Bosnia, Cambodia and Darfur.

Following the assemblies, students spent time discussing the subject in their forms.

It all culminated with a tree planting ceremony with the Mayor of Oldham Councillor Shadab Qumer joining a number of staff and students from the school.

Following the ceremony the Mayor spoke of his desire for people to learn from what has gone on in the past. “I always say we have to look back at history and recognise what’s gone on, accept what’s gone on and move forward.

“The future generations have got to know that things can’t carry on. We’ve got to move forward in society and throughout the world. I think that’s the most vital lesson I can give any child.”

He added: “A lot of the burden is going to fall on the younger generation to move forward and to recognise each other.

“We all have differences but it’s about making the most of those differences to allow us to move forward in life.”

REMEMBRANCE: The Mayor of Oldham at the Saddleworth Peace Movement event in Saddleworth.

On Saturday the Saddleworth Peace Group held a service at Uppermill Square from 1.50pm with people of all ages attending.

Then on Monday a special ‘Power of Words’ event was held at The Oldham Academy North in Royton.

It began with performances from drama students who used a scripted piece about the persecution of the Jews followed by a piece devised by students themselves about the power of words, contrasting events in the past with today’s society.

POWER OF WORDS: Performances at Oldham Academy North.

The choir sang several songs around the positivity of words including Christina Aguilera’s hit Beautiful and the Oasis classic ‘Don’t look back in anger’ before a number of presentations and reflections by pupils from The Oldham Academy North and Oldham Youth Council.

A number of Year 10 GCSE history and RE students will be heading off to Krakow and Auschwitz later and they spoke about their findings ahead of their trip.

It was a moving and fitting end to several days of events when the people of Oldham came together to remember the victims of the holocausts.

PAYING RESPECTS: Reflections in Uppermill.