STUDENTS and staff from King’s Ely Junior and King’s Ely Senior came together at Ely Cathedral to mark National Holocaust Memorial Day.

The theme of the school’s moving Service of Remembrance, held on January 28th, was ‘Torn from Home’. The service was held to commemorate the liberation of Auschwitz Birkenau; to mark the 25th anniversary of the Genocide in Rwanda and 40 years since the ending of the Genocide in Cambodia.

Prior to the service, all students in Years 7 to 13 were encouraged to read and reflect on the life of Sokphal Din, who was forced out of his home by the Khmer Rouge in April 1975, aged just 17. Sokphal endured hard labour in the Killing Fields and eventually survived the Genocide in Cambodia by escaping to Thai refugee camps where he lived for seven years.

A short poem written by Karen Gershon, entitled ‘I was not there’, was read out at the service. Karen was rescued as a child on the Kindertransport. Students were invited to light candles in memory of those who lost their lives.

King’s Ely Junior and Senior students have also taken part in the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust Postcard Project this year, where pupils have learnt about the history and explored the life stories of people affected by the Holocaust and the Genocide in Cambodia, and then written personal postcards to them.

Holocaust Memorial Day (January 27th) is a national commemoration day in the UK dedicated to the remembrance of those who suffered in the Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution, and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. It was first held in January 2001 and has been on the same date every year since. The chosen date is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp by the Soviet Union in 1945.

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