Earl of Wessex visits Norden Farm to mark Holocaust Memorial Day

The Earl of Wessex was one of the guests invited to Norden Farm to mark Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) and the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz today.

First held on January 27, 2001 HMD is a national commemoration day dedicated to the remembrance of those who suffered in The Holocaust.

The date is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp by the Soviet Union in 1945.

HMD also marks subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.

The event at the centre of the arts was attended by students from Holyport College and Cox Green School.

Prince Edward, met the Cox Green pupils who spoke to him about their recent visit to Auschwitz and the emotional experience of visiting the site, as well as meeting a holocaust survivor and visiting Schindler’s factory.

The event also included the screening of Nicky’s Family – A documentary film about Maidenhead resident, Sir Nicholas Winton, and the story of how he saved the lives of hundreds of mostly Jewish Czech children.

Then a 29 year-old stockbroker, Sir Winton organised the rescue of the 669 children from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia to Britain, and other countries, during the nine months before the  Second World War broke out.

He passed away in 2015, aged 106.

After the film there was a conversation between Maidenhead Synagogue’s Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain MBE, Nick Winton, son of Sir Nicholas Winton and trustee of Norden Farm, and one of ‘Nicky’s children’, Holocaust survivor John Fieldsend, whose parents were murdered at Auschwitz.

CEO and artistic director at Norden Farm Jane Corry said ‘worryingly, anti-Semitism seems to be on the increase across the world’.

“It feels more important than ever to teach our young people about what happened so it cannot happen again, ” she said.

“The film Nicky’s Family not only tells the story, but also teaches us about how the mark of a democracy is the way it looks after its minorities, and how evil can happen when good people do nothing.

“Nicky’s idea of ‘active goodness’ where you take action rather than conducting a passive life inspired us all.”

Theresa May MP signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment on Tuesday, January 21.

“Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity to reflect on the darkest times of European history, she said.

“As the Holocaust moves from living history, to history, it becomes ever more important that we take the time to remember all the victims and pay tribute to the survivors."

The 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was also marked at The Royal Borough’s libraries with specially curated displays.

Reading development and library promotions officer, Jeanette Kemp, said: “National Holocaust Memorial Day is a key event in our library calendar.

“This anniversary allows us the opportunity to honour and remember six million Jewish men, women and children who lost their lives in the Second World War.

“The anniversary also enables us to celebrate and share with the public the many beautiful and moving books that have been written about this momentous event in modern history.”

The display included children’s fiction, adult stories and non-fiction books.

On the public screens in some of the libraries there has also been a video played of Richard Dimbleby’s radio address of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.

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