Hundreds of people gathered to mark Holocaust Memorial Day in Aberdeen, to remember those who were persecuted under the Nazi regime.
Yesterday’s commemoration marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, as well as the 25th anniversary of the Bosnian Genocide and the 26th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide.
The theme of the day was Stand Together and at the event at Aberdeen Art Gallery, audience members congregated in a circle at 12.30pm to take a minute of silence in a mark of respect.
They were also invited to sign a book in memory of the lives lost during the Second World War and in more recent genocides.
Vice-president of Aberdeen Synagogue and Jewish Community Centre Debby Taylor gave an opening speech.
She said: “This day 75 years ago Auschwitz was liberated – it seems like a different world but it isn’t.
“Between 1939 and 1945 six million Jews were systematically, bureaucratically and mechanistically murdered, together with hundreds of thousands of others who were targeted for persecution in the quest for an ideal.”
Pupils from Aberdeen Grammar School and Oldmachar Academy gave a speech on their visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp in October last year.
Stephanie Gibson, 17, a pupil at Aberdeen Grammar, said: “It’s an experience we will remember forever, and being able to pass on that information to younger students and younger people to ensure they can understand what actually happened, so we can make sure history is never repeated.”
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Organiser and retired trade unionist Tommy Campbell said: “It’s absolutely important we continue to remember what really happened in the Holocaust and in the other genocides and we make sure we work to our best efforts so nothing like this ever happens again.”
Lord Provost Barney Crockett said: “There’s people from every background imaginable and I think we get the message going out that Aberdeen is a place where everybody is valued and we show solidarity and stand against any growth of dangerous ideas anywhere, but particularly in our city.”
Meanwhile, at Aberdeen University, students and staff linked arms and stood for a minute’s silence.
Dr Helen Lynch, a reader at the university and a member of the city’s Holocaust Memorial Day committee, said: “It is absolutely crucial we continue to mark this occasion. This is one of the last days where there will be survivors in a position to talk about it and it is so important we continue to remember into the future.”
University chaplain Rev Marylee Anderson said: “It’s a reminder to everyone to take a moment to remember.
“It’s great to see staff and students coming together.”