VIDEO: Holocaust commemorated with tree of life

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Residents honoured the lives lost in the Holocaust with a special guesture.

To commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day, members of the public tied handwritten notes to the Holocaust Tree of Life in Beach House Park, Worthing at 11am this morning.

Worthing mayor Sean McDonald at Beach House Park, where he laid a wreath to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day

Worthing mayor Sean McDonald at Beach House Park, where he laid a wreath to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day

This followed an emotional speech by Major Sarah Evans, Salvation Army officer for Worthing, and a wreath-laying by town mayor Sean McDonald.

Major Evans read out words that had been written on a concentration camp wall which said: “I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining. I believe in love, even when I cannot feel it, and I believe in God, even when He is silent.”

Among the notes on the tree were messages to loved ones who died in the Holocaust. A service was held at Lancing Prep School in Broadwater Road, Worthing, and schoolchildren wrote their own messages which were hung on the tree. One said: “We will play football for you because you couldn’t.”

Worthing town crier Bob Smytherman said his message was ‘Worthing unites’.

To commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day, members of the public were invited to tie messages on a tree in Beach House Park

To commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day, members of the public were invited to tie messages on a tree in Beach House Park

“The next genocide could be around the corner, so it is so important as a community that we unite. It is great to see so many people here.”

Deputy Lord-Lieutenant Margaret Banford, from Findon, attended the event on behalf of the Queen and praised the ‘excellent’ service.

She visited the Auschwitz concentration camp eight years ago, and described it as a ‘chilling’ experience.

She said: “It is not the stuff of nightmares, but of horror because it was real. It was more than scary, it gets into your very being. It is quite literally unbelievable.

“You can never transmit the experience of going there through literature, words, even photographs; you have to experience the red brick buildings, the wire, the gas chambers, the piles of cases and mountains of human hair, the crematoria. Horrible. Absolutely horrible.”

In Shoreham, residents joined Adur District Council chairman, councillor Ann Bridges, for a wreath-laying service held at the Holocaust Memorial Tree in Buckingham Park at 11am today.

Councillor Bridges said: “Holocaust Memorial Day provides us all – no matter what age, faith or race – with the opportunity to reflect and remember the suffering of those whose lives were lost.

“It is also one day of the year for us all to come together and give thanks for the peace we now enjoy and remind us that such acts of genocide must never be allowed to be repeated.”

Holocaust Memorial Day is a national event that takes place on January 27 each year to remember the millions of people who have been murdered or whose lives have been changed during the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

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