A MEMORIAL candle has been lit by a survivor of the Holocaust and tributes have been paid to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.
Ela Weissberger visited Kyle Academy in Ayr, South Ayrshire, in an event that was shown in other schools across Scotland as pupils came together for Holocaust Memorial Day.
The 84-year-old lit a candle designed by sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor and commissioned by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, to create 70 candles to mark 70 years since the liberation of the Nazis’ largest death camp on 27 January 1945.
Hasan Hasanovic, 39, a survivor of the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia, joined Ms Weissberger in detailing their personal experiences. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was due to meet the survivors at a further event.
The events marked Holocaust Memorial Day 2015. The 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau fell on the same day as the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre.
They were organised by the group Interfaith Scotland in partnership with South Ayrshire Council, the Scottish Government and the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.
The trust expected more than 2,400 events to take place across the UK at community centres, schools, libraries, museums, arts venues, prisons, railway stations and places of worship.
Politicians praised the events and tributes were made at the Scottish Parliament.
SNP MSP Stewart Maxwell said: “Every year there are fewer survivors of Auschwitz-Birkenau camps, so we all have a duty to keep the memory alive.
“Holocaust Memorial Day is a reminder that we all have a responsibility to stand up to prejudice, hatred and intolerance in our society – particularly at a time while hate crime and religious intolerance is reportedly on the rise across Europe. Education is the key to overcoming prejudice and future atrocities.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “The greatest tribute we can pay to those who endured the atrocities at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka and the many concentration camps across Europe, is to remember them. We have a generational responsibility to our past to ensure that these brutal acts never happen again in future.
Holocaust Memorial Day has been marked in the UK since 2001 and it was announced yesterday that a new national memorial to the victims of the Holocaust is to be built in London.
Prime Minister David Cameron said the UK government will contribute £50 million towards the “striking and prominent” monument, as well as the establishment alongside it of a “world-class” education centre to maintain awareness for generations to come of what he described as “the darkest hour of human history”.
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