ON MONDAY, January 27 – International Holocaust Memorial Day – a specific memorial will be unveiled in Thurrock.
For years a service has been held at the High View Avenue Memorial Gardens in Grays marked by the laying of white pebbles, but the “mound” was removed after the ceremony.
Now a permanent memorial marker of stones has been created. Young people attending the service in 2012 did not think it right the pebbles were laid on the day and then put away for a year and raised £600 towards a permanent memorial.
In addition, East Tilbury stonemasons Madstone Ltd have contributed their skills free of charge and the memorial will also bear a plaque stating: “In remembrance of the millions of people killed in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides throughout the world We honour the survivors from regimes of hatred and challenge ourselves to use the lessons of their experience to inform our lives today.”
The plaque will also say: “Holocaust Memorial Day 27 January 2014. This memorial was funded by young people in their role of Diversity Champions 2012.”
Each year the Mayor of Thurrock will lay an extra permanent pebble to the memorial marking that year’s ceremony.
Cllr Lynn Worrall, Thurrock Council’s cabinet member for communities, said: “Holocaust Day ceremonies are always incredibly moving and remind us all where bullying and blind discrimination on the grounds of race, background, or anything really, can lead us.
“Thoughtlessly and continuously picking on any small group of people for no reason is what created the Holocaust and it is our duty as people living in a free democracy to highlight anywhere we see such acts, whether it is in our own country or abroad.
“We know that picking on people because of the colour of their skin is wrong; but so is targeting those with different views, with different gods or who sound different.
“Holocaust Day is a time for us to remember that doing nothing led to the horror that was Nazi Germany – doing nothing is not an option.”
She added: “That message was clearly heard by the young people in 2012 and by Madstone Ltd today – we owe them a debt of thanks too.”
This year’s memorial service and commemorative events will be held on 27 January – the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1945. The day is being supported by Thurrock Faith Matters – a collective of different faiths working together in Thurrock.
The service will be held 11am at the High View Avenue Memorial Gardens in Grays with both Prayers of Faith and speeches by civic leaders and is open to all and free to enter.
Further events to mark the day and examine the wider issues of intolerance will be held at the Thameside Theatre throughout the same day.
People are invited to watch the film The Boy In the Striped Pyjamas (Cert 12) at 1.30pm and at 6pm a presentation by young people who visited Auschwitz-Birkenau this year will be given.