Monday, January 28, 2008

Honoring The Victims

Teenagers of all faiths remember Holocaust

The warmth which encompassed every faith community in Liverpool yesterday embraced elderly survivors of the Holocaust and victims' relatives at a memorial concert in the city. There to welcome them were teenage Jews, Christians, Hindus and - for the first time in an official capacity - Muslims who had been on a "walk of faith" to call for tolerance, friendship, and the sanctity of individual life.

"The Holocaust was not so much six million deaths as one death six million times," said the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, taking up the theme which won Liverpool the honour of hosting National Holocaust Memorial Day this year.

He and Sir Jonathan Sacks, the Commonwealth chief rabbi, prayed together by a huge heap of spectacles, sent to Liverpool town hall from across the world and piled on a set of railway tracks like the infamous ones at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

"This is the darkness," said Liverpool councillor Tina Gould, who worked for a year to organise the mixture of religious service, music, poetry and drama, before visiting Auschwitz earlier this month. "As a Jew and as someone who loves Liverpool, I find it very hard to bear. But look, here is the light."

She opened one of the big, mahogany doors of the town hall and colour flooded in from thousands of paper butterflies - an age-old symbol of the human spirit - made by children in honour of named individuals who died in the Nazi camps.

The main commemoration at the Philharmonic Hall, on Hope Street, which unites the two once warring cathedrals, also dealt in names rather than numbers. The packed audience listened to music by Hans Krasa, who died at Auschwitz, and Hans Gal, who escaped and ended up in Liverpool interned as an "enemy alien" during the war, but was shown around the city by friendly Scouser guards.

Martin Bell, the former independent MP and BBC reporter in the Balkans, then introduced the true story of Bosko and Admira, the Romeo and Juliet of Sarajevo whose love was destroyed by the hatred between Serbs and Bosnians.

Tahira, 15, a Muslim who joined Catholic, Anglican and Hindu teenagers on the faith walk, said: "That is what we must prevent, and we do it by meeting together and making friends - simple, and just what we do in Liverpool's youth council."

Via The Guardian

See also: Liverpool Hosts Holocaust Memorial Day

H/T NYNana

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