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Online civic remembrance event to mark Holocaust Memorial Day

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Be the light in the darkness’ is the theme for this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day which, due to the current national lockdown, will be shown online on Sunday, January 24 from 2.00pm at www.leedstownhall.co.uk

Members of the public are invited to join the event online from the safety of their homes to remember all the victims of genocide. This international day of remembrance focuses on the six million Jewish men, women and children murdered in the Holocaust, and millions more people killed under German Nazi persecution, and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds will open the event followed by a keynote speech by Dr Alessandro Bucci, Co-director of the Holocaust Learning and Exhibition Centre, University of Huddersfield, and Ben Barkow, Chair of the Holocaust Survivors’ Friendship Association.

Young people from the Carriageworks Young Theatre Makers, Breeze Arts Foundation at Leeds Playhouse, Opera North Youth Chorus and Pyramid Arts have worked together to increase their knowledge of Holocaust Memorial Day and have recorded a performance reading of WH Auden’s poem ‘Refugee Blues’ which will be included in the online event.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Eileen Taylor said:

“Whilst we are unable to come together in person this year to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day, I am honoured to be a part of this online event which gives the people of Leeds the chance to come together in remembrance of those who were murdered in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides.”

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said:

“This year’s theme of ‘Be the light in the darkness’ is an affirmation and a call to action for everyone marking Holocaust Memorial Day. The theme asks us to consider different kinds of ‘darkness’: identity-based persecution, misinformation, denial of justice. It then asks that we consider different ways of ‘being the light’, such as acts of solidarity, resistance, rescue and illuminating mistruths.”

The event will be British Sign Language (BSL) interpreted. This event will be available to watch from 2pm on Sunday, January 24 to 11.59pm on Wednesday, January 27. The recording of WH Auden’s Poem ‘Refugee Blues’ by young people from the arts organisations detailed below has been compiled by Studio 12.

The Carriageworks Young Theatre Makers are aged between 10 and 18 and work collaboratively to make original, bold theatre with writer/director Ruth Cooper. During 2020 CYTM continued working remotely, taking part in the international Coronavirus Time Capsule project and producing their first ever film, The Never Was.

Breeze Arts Foundation is a partnership alternative education course ran by Leeds Playhouse and Leeds City College for young people 16-19 years old, or up to 25 if they have an EHCP (Educational Health Care Plan) who may not be in education, employment or training and who find the experience of being in a professional, practical environment more positive for learning. The group forms their own creative company working on lots of originally devised performances, film and music whilst working towards an Arts Award qualification and learning more about arts industry careers and opportunities.

Georgia, Daniel, Bronte, Magnus, Gala and Faith are members of the Opera North Youth Chorus. The Opera North Youth Chorus is an auditioned choir which gives young people aged 14-19 the skills and experience to become well-rounded performers. For more information or to get involved, visit: www.operanorth.co.uk

The Opera North Youth Chorus is supported by the Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation and the Whitaker Charitable Trust. Pyramid is a Leeds-based arts collective who help people with learning disabilities discover the arts, develop their talents and become world-class artists. Next Step Pyramid are a group of artists aged 18 – 30 who meet on Thursday evenings. The group work on a variety of projects and they work in all art forms.

Source Leeds City Council