4000 people attended the national HMD event, at Barnet Copthall stadium on Sunday. Henry Grunwald OBE QC welcomed the crowd and introduced board President Jonathan Arkush, to read the Yad Vashem Law.
180 Survivors were in attendance, including 87 year old Ben Helfgot, who gave an emotional speech about the Warsaw Ghetto, reminiscing about receiving just two loaves of bread and half a pound of Jam.
Ambassador Mark Regev, described growing up as a child of a survivor as “living with the weight of the Shoah on his shoulders.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan mentioned how deeply moved he was by hearing different survivors accounts, and how the new national holocaust Memorial Centre is absolutely vital as its “more important than ever, to learn from the past.”
Surrounded by 150 schoolchildren, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis compared the two meanings of the Hebrew word “Tikva,” – rope and hope. Just like a rope in the book of Joshua allowed two Jewish men to escape certain death, hope keeps Jews going. Like a rope, made up of many tiny fibres, that join together to form a strong unbreakable bond, so too there is hope of the future where determination and single mindedness join forces to allow us to realise our ambitions. The children of the future represent the hope that was nearly extinguished in the past.
Highlights, including a live video link up to the annual ‘March of the Living’ event, taking place in Poland. Spectators in London watched as participants of the march lit candles in Auschwitz.
Five male choirs combined, to sing and accompany Cantors Stephen Leas, David Rome and Rabbi Mark Levene who’s moving renditions truly moved the crowd. 14 youth groups took part in the ceremony, and it was truly awe-inspiring to see people of all ages, including world Ambassadors, Lords, MPs, Rabbis, Dignitaries, Communal leaders, professionals and volunteers, who all attended to ‘Remember Together – We Are One.’