Torn From Home is the chosen theme for events to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2019, which will take place across the diocese on Sunday January 27.
The atrocities carried out against Jewish people during the Second World War and also more recent genocides in the countries of Rwanda, Burundi, Cambodia, Bosnia and Sudan will be remembered at many church and civic services.
For example. local people in Batley and Dewsbury, supported by the Near Neighbours Fund, have created a Weeping Sister figure to remember the genocide in Burundi and this will be prominent at a memorial event attended by faith leaders outside Dewsbury Town Hall at 2.30pm on Sunday.
Bradford Cathedral will hold its Holocaust Memorial Day Evensong from 4pm to 5.30pm with an address by Judge Laurence Saffer, who sits in Bradford and London and is president of the Leeds Jewish Representative Council.
Following Evensong, his address will encourage everyone to reflect on how the enforced loss of a safe place to call ‘home’ is part of the trauma faced by anyone experiencing persecution and genocide.
Wakefield Cathedral holds its Holocaust Memorial Day service from 3.30pm to 4.30pm
Civic and religious leaders will take part in the service – including Wakefield MP, Mary Creagh, the Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Tony Robinson, the Mayor of Wakefield, Cllr Stuart Heptinstall, Wakefield’s Youth and Community Project leader, Usman Ali, and Simon Phillips, the Director of Interfaith for the Leeds Jewish Representative Council.
They will be joined by other representatives of Wakefield’s Interfaith Network and City of Sanctuary as together they will reflect on what an enforced loss of a safe place to call home means.
Since 2001 the Government has asked British society to observe January 27 – the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz - as Holocaust Memorial Day and to use it to reflect on such atrocities.
This year’s Holocaust Memorial Day will also mark the 25thanniversary of the Rwandan genocide, which began in April 1994, and the 40thanniversary of the end of the genocide in Cambodia in 1979.
The service will include first hand video testimony from Appolinaire Kageruke on the Rwandan genocide and a video of Nina Sosanya reading the poem Colours which is dedicated to all the survivors of the Rwanda genocide.
This year’s theme, Torn From Home, fits in with the overarching central message of identity that Wakefield Cathedral intends to explore through worship, art, discussion and debate in the first half of this year.