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Posted on: 28/01/2022

Year 11 students remember Holocaust, in oldest Ashkenazi cemetery

Year 11 Morpeth School History students gathered at the Alderney Road Jewish Cemetery in Tower Hamlets, to mark Holocaust Memorial Day on Thursday 27th January 2022.

Following a reading by History teacher Mr Smith, of a Declaration of Remembrance, students stood in silence for one minute then lit candles which they placed on a grave yard tomb stone.

Head of History Mr Urtone said: “The ceremony was an opportunity for us to remember Jewish victims and all other victims of the holocaust.

“It also allowed us to think about people currently facing persecution and to consider the words: ‘If you challenge discrimination, persecution can’t happen’.

“Pupils were incredibly moved and thoughtful in our discussions, when we returned to school.

“Students have been learning about migration and the causes that push people to flee their homes.

“Thank you to our trainee History teacher, Ms Kirchbaum, who shared her family’s story with us, giving pupils a real sense of the horrors of the Holocaust.

Ms Kirchbaum told them about her great grandparents who escaped from Germany to Cuba, eventually settling in Los Angeles. Other members of her extended family built new lives in Shanghai, Melbourne, Mauritius and Jerusalem.

Alderney Road Cemetery is the oldest Ashkenazi Jewish burial ground in England. It was built in 1697 after the readmission of Jewish people to the UK under Cromwell in 1656.  Many of the headstones are inscribed in Hebrew.

The Declaration of Remembrance was written by History Teacher and Assistant Headteacher, Mr Tom Smith, for a ceremony in 2017 with Holocaust survivor Eve Kugler.

Declaration wording:

“We are gathered here today to remember the scale of human suffering and loss endured during the era of the Holocaust, 1933-1945. We remember the millions of men, women and children who had their lives taken from them as a result of a brutal system of murder. We remember the communities they left behind and we remember an unparalleled level of human talent which was never allowed to shine. We remember today what happens when persecution goes unchecked and power becomes corrupt and absolute. We also remember those people who survived, people who had their entire lives uprooted and forever changed in the quest for survival. Ultimately, we remember the era of the Holocaust because we want to equip future generations with the knowledge necessary to prevent it ever happening again”. â€‹