Remembering the Holocaust without Jews

13 February 2007

by Margaret Duggan

HE HAD “seen it done last year in Derby”, Peter Wingrave told me; so he thought they should do it in Leominster Priory, in Hereford diocese, as well. As part of the ministry team, he organised a “commemorative event” to remember those who died in the Holocaust, not only the Jews, but also gypsies and homosexuals, and all victims of persecution.

It was not a service, he says, but they lit candles and listened to readings, music, poetry, and reflections from many local groups. About 100 people — about one third of them teenagers — came from local churches, the Baha’i faith, Amnesty International, the Samaritans, and others who work with the disadvantaged. The Baptists declined to join in because members of the Terence Higgins Trust were present.

The other people surprisingly not represented were the Jews, because, Mr Wingrave says, “it is very difficult to find Jews in Herefordshire.” The chairman of Jews in Hereford had promised to come, but her health would not allow it. Nevertheless, the Mayor, Councillor Janet Atkinson, was there, and opened an exhibition about Auschwitz, Sudan, and Darfur which stayed open for two weeks.

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