Holocaust Memorial Day 2020
Holocaust Memorial Day is commemorated annually on 27th January.
Newham has a long association of marking Holocaust Memorial Day and, as part of British Values and as members of our wider community, Lathom Junior School are proud to attend this annual event. This year it was in the Old Town Hall, Stratford and was attended by The Mayor, Lord and Lady Parry, Councillor Julianne Marriott and other dignitaries. A group of Year 6 children attended and as part of the commemoration, listened to music, poetry readings and a range of speakers including a living testimony from a Holocaust survivor, John Hadju MBE. The children always find this testimony very moving and it brings a human element to their understanding of the second world war and genocide.
This Year the children also heard the testimony of a survivor, Arnesa Buljusmic-Kustura, of the Bosnian genocide. This was particularly moving, as this genocide was perpetrated in 1995, one of many in recent times. Majid stated, “I was appalled and heart-broken when I heard their stories.” “It was a once in a life time experience.” Amaan said, and that he had “Learned a lot about the Holocaust and genocide, from people who had survived them.”
Year 6 participate in a range of activities to enhance their understanding of the Holocaust and take part in activities that forge links with outside agencies including the HMD Trust. This year we have again joined forces with ‘Big Ideas’, who create community and education projects. We participated with the national project to create Foundation Stones. The idea comes from Jewish burials. When Jews bury their dead, family and friends leave stones on their graves. Year 6 created their own stones with a message for anyone who had been a survivor of genocide, or for the leaders of our communities, to send the message, never again. The activity was thought provoking and the children wrote about what creating the stones meant to them.
“Don’t ignore the voice of reason, because it is important to respect each other.” Hiza wrote “I know the past is the past and I can’t do anything about it. What I know is that I can change the future.”
Eshal wrote “My message was to stop war and have peace on earth.”
This art project linked closely with the HMD theme, Stand Together. We were honoured that our work was again displayed in the Town Hall during Newham’s HMD event and the stones will eventually be sent to Big Ideas to form part of the foundations of the new Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre, which is to be built in Westminster. Big Ideas want schools, colleges and faith groups from around the country to be part of this historical event in a unique and permanent way.
Lathom is proud of the way our children embrace the historical events that have shaped our world and have a bearing on their future. These activities provoke debate and soul searching and asks big questions that the children do not always have an answer for. We will continue to ensure history in our school continues to promote deeper learning and understanding of our world, British Values and ensure that our children have a greater understanding of how they can make a difference, especially if we Stand Together.