Dozens of people gathered in Shoreham on Saturday (January 26) to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
A memorial service was held at a tree of life in Shoreham’s Buckingham Park, planted in memory of those killed in the Holocaust and other genocides.
The tributes held particular significance for Adur councillor Lee Cowen.
His grandparents survived the concentration camps and returned to Budapest after the war, but his grandmother died shortly after giving birth to his mother from medical complications picked up in Bergen-Belsen. Most of his grandparents’ immediate family were murdered.
Mr Cowen recited the Kaddish, a Jewish prayer of mourning, at the service.
“The service was dignified and beautifully observed and thanks goes out to the council for putting this on each year,” he said.
“In fact this was the largest-attended service I’ve been to at the Buckingham Park memorial tree.
“It’s very important that this low point in human existence is never forgotten especially since there’s a worrying lack of awareness and denial surrounding the historical events of the Holocaust.”
Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1945.
Mr Cowen was joined by Adur District Council chairman Joss Loader, Rev James Grant and councillor George Barton who delivered a speech.
Mrs Loader said it was good to see people supporting the event despite the cold weather.
She said: “There are no words that can adequately sum up the extent and horror of the Holocaust but special thanks to the council’s armed services champion, councillor George Barton, who spoke with compassion and great poignancy about the impact of people losing their homes as a precursor to genocide.
“Thank you also to councillor Lee Cowen for saying the Kaddish and the Vicar of St Nicolas, the Rev James Grant, for leading the prayers and performing the blessing.”