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Waveney remembers the Holocaust

PUBLISHED: 16:42 20 January 2010 | UPDATED: 09:08 01 August 2010

WAVENEY will mark Holocaust Memorial Day next week with a number of special events to remember the part the district played over 70 years ago.

The day falls on Wednesday, the anniversary of the liberation of the infamous concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

WAVENEY will mark Holocaust Memorial Day next week with a number of special events to remember the part the district played over 70 years ago.

The day falls on Wednesday, the anniversary of the liberation of the infamous concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Waveney District Council has been working in partnership with local schools and organisations to tell the story of how our region helped to house many Jewish refugee children.

The district's commemorations begin with a launch event at St Felix School, Southwold on Monday.

The school took care of around 200 Jewish boys, aged 12 to 18 over the Christmas period in December 1938. The staff cancelled their annual Christmas evening and gave a party for the refugees and many volunteered to give up five days of their holiday to assist with looking after the children.

The mayor of Southwold, Susan Doy, will open the event and pupils will recite historic passages to paint a picture of the school's involvement.

There will be displays of work by Lowestoft schoolchildren involved in Holocaust Memorial Day and historical information including images and newspaper articles depicting this period in the district's history.

Suffolk Young Voices Choir will be performing and Rev Mark Booth from Southwold Methodist Church will close proceedings with a prayer.

On Holocaust Memorial Day, on Wednesday, around 60 local schoolchildren will re-trace the last leg of the refugees' journey, from Beccles to Lowestoft and on to Pontins in Pakefield, where the original Kindertransport refugees were billeted.

Some of the children have been busy producing replica numbers and suitcases, like those carried by the evacuees.

The children will board the train at Beccles and arrive in Lowestoft Station at around 10.30am were they will be greeted by the current mayor of Lowestoft, councillor Malcolm Cherry.

There will then be a special public service, which all are welcome to attend.

A commemorative plaque will be unveiled by the Mayor and Waveney District Council's deputy chairman, councillor Simon Tobin, will join representatives of Gisleham and Lothingland Middle Schools in laying a wreath at the site.

The children will go on to Pontins, where they will have the opportunity to listen to talks and view the historical displays.

John Holmes, president of the Jack Rose Old Lowestoft Society, will give a first-hand account of evacuation by one of the 1938 Kinder refugees.

Chris Brookes, chairman of the Lowestoft Evacuees Committee, will talk about Lowestoft's own refugees.

After the events, the displays will be made available to the public. Visitors to the reception at the Town Hall, High Street, Lowestoft can see them from next Thursday, for a fortnight.

In addition, the Marina Theatre is presenting special public screenings of the film The Boy In Striped Pyjamas (12A), the story of Bruno, the son of the commandant at a concentration camp and his friendship with a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence.

Screenings are taking place at 2.30pm and 7.30pm on Wednesday, but the 2.30pm matinee screening is already full.

Tickets are still available for the 7.30pm showing and admission is free. Tickets need to be pre booked from the box office (max two per application).

Holocaust Memorial Day was established to commemorate the victims and honour the survivors of the Holocaust and other genocides.

For more information on Holocaust Memorial Day visit www.hmd.org.uk.

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