Northwood synagogues welcome over 2,000 students to Holocaust Memorial Day events
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Thursday 9th February 2017

Northwood United Synagogue and Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue together welcomed more than 2,030 pupils from local schools to mark Holocaust Memorial Day in a series of events during the first two weeks of February.

The year 9 to 13 students had the rare opportunity to listen to a Holocaust survivor recount their personal stories first-hand and take part in an educational workshop relating historical facts about the Holocaust to contemporary issues such as racism, discrimination, persecution and citizenship.  Each session concluded with closing reflections from the synagogue’s Rabbi, a minute’s silence and the lighting of a memorial candle. Survivors who spoke at one of the sessions included Janine Webber, Gerald Granston, Peter Lantos, Nelly Ben-Or, Ann Kirk & Bob Kirk, Hannah Lewis, Toby Biber, Leslie Kleinman, Helen Aronson, Lily Ebert, Mala Tribich, Zahava Kohn, Ernest Simon, Eva Clarke and Steven Frank.

Helen Aronson standing 

Participating schools from the local area included Guru Nanak Sikh Academy (Hayes), De Salis College (Hayes), Douay Martyrs (Uxbridge), Northwood School (Northwood), Merchant Taylor’s (Northwood), Hitchin Boys’ (Hitchin), Bishop Ramsey (Ruislip), St Helen’s (Northwood), Aylesbury College (Aylesbury) Rosedale College (Hayes), Hockerill Anglo-European College (Bishop’s Stortford), Reach Free (Northwood), Royal Masonic (Rickmansworth), Goffs (Cheshunt), Northwood College (Northwood), Harefield Academy (Harefield), Marlborough (St Albans), Parmiter’s (Watford), Thomas Alleyne (Stevenage), Vyners (Ickenham), Kings Langley, Nower Hill (Pinner) and Abbotsfield (Uxbridge).

Mala Tribich and Rabbi Zerbib 

Philip Austin, head of the organising committee behind the Northwood Holocaust Memorial Day Events explained, "The theme of Holocaust Memorial Day 2017 is ‘How can life go on?’. Our 25 wonderful survivor speakers ‎gave their inspiring testimony to the students of how they endured the atrocities and made new lives in the UK.”

The Northwood Synagogues’ events were part of a bigger programme of Northwood Holocaust Memorial Day activities involving over 3,060 pupils representing almost 50 schools from Dacorum, Hertfordshire, the London Boroughs of Harrow and Hillingdon, Bedfordshire and Berkshire.  Now in its 16th year, the programme aims to educate students about Nazi atrocities, make a connection between the Holocaust and subsequent genocides and invite students to consider their personal responsibility to promote tolerance in today’s world. Some 31,000 pupils have participated to date.

Hannah Lewis 

Any school or college wishing to register their interest in taking part in a Holocaust Memorial event next year should email or call 08456 448 006