Synagogues Join Forces to Welcome 3,000 Students for HMD
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Friday 16th January 2015

During the first two weeks of February 2015, almost 3,000 pupils in years 9 to 13 from 48 schools across Hertfordshire, the London Borough of Harrow, the London Borough of Hillingdon, Bedfordshire and Berkshire will participate in a unique programme to mark Holocaust Memorial Day hosted by local synagogues. Students will attend an educational workshop and have the rare opportunity to listen to a Holocaust survivor recount their personal experiences of the Holocaust firsthand. Now in its 14th year, this year’s event is particularly poignant as 27 January 2015 will be the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.                                                                                                                            

As well as hearing moving testimony from a Holocaust survivor, students will participate in a workshop relating historical facts about the Holocaust to contemporary issues such as racism, discrimination, persecution and citizenship. Students at the Watford Synagogue event will also hear the story of Eric Eugene Murangwa, a football-crazy survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide in which an estimated 800,000 Tutsis were slaughtered by their Hutu countrymen. All of the sessions will conclude with closing reflections from each synagogue’s rabbi and the lighting of a memorial candle. 

The aims of the event are to educate students about the Holocaust, make a connection between the Holocaust and subsequent genocides and invite students to consider their individual personal responsibility to promote tolerance in today’s world.

Eric Eugene Murangwa