Buckingham Town Council commemorated Holocaust Memorial Day on Thursday 27th January 2022 at an inaugural ceremony around Bourton Park’s new Memorial Stone. The event started with a welcome from the Town Mayor, Cllr. Gateley and the following commitment:
- We recognise that the Holocaust shook the foundations of modern civilisation. Its unprecedented character and horror will always hold universal meaning.
- We believe the Holocaust must have a permanent place in our nation’s and community’s collective memory. We honour the survivors still with us, and reaffirm our shared goals of mutual understanding and justice.
- We must make sure that future generations understand the causes of the Holocaust and reflect upon its consequences. We vow to remember the victims of Nazi persecution and of all genocides.
- We value the sacrifices of those who have risked their lives to protect or rescue victims, as a touchstone of the human capacity for good in the face of evil.
- We recognise that humanity is still scarred by the belief that race, religion, disability or sexuality make some people’s lives worth less than others’. Genocide, antisemitism, racism, xenophobia and discrimination still continue. We have a shared responsibility to fight these evils.
- We pledge to strengthen our efforts to promote education and research about the Holocaust and other genocides. We will do our utmost to make sure that the lessons of such events are fully learnt.
- We will continue to encourage Holocaust remembrance by organising an activity to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day. We condemn the evils of prejudice, discrimination and racism. We value a free, respectful, and democratic society.
The Mayor read a poem ‘Belsen Silence’ by Lolo Lewis who served in the British 11th Armoured Division, which liberated the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in April 1945.
Councillors and members of the public were asked to join the Mayor in a lantern lit walk of reflection around Bourton Park.
Mayor of Buckingham, Cllr. Margaret Gateley said ““It was an honour for me to lead Buckingham’s first Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration today, 27 January 2022. We remember 6 million Jews, who were murdered in the Holocaust and the millions of people killed under Nazi persecution of other groups, and also in the genocides which followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.
Today was an opportunity for us to reflect on what has happened in history, and also to stand against prejudice and hatred in our world today. We must commit to learning from the Holocaust and from other genocides for a better future. “
The memorial stone is limestone bedrock from Brackley Road cemetery and was transported, as a gesture to the community, by local firm Paragon Tool Hire. Buckingham Town Council commissioned local Stonemason and a Master Letter Carver
Louis Francis to engrave the Holocaust Memorial Day emblem and wording.
“When I was asked to undertake this project, I was pleased to know that the stone to be carved was reused from local grounds. This pleased me so much that I had to get involved. It’s great for the local community to come and visit and remember lost loved ones”.
The Town Council worked with The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust in planning the inaugural event. The Trust is a charity which works to raise awareness of Holocaust Memorial Day. They promote and encourage participation in Holocaust Memorial Day by providing free resources, running free workshops across the UK and producing the annual theme for Holocaust Memorial Day. It is hoped that annual events in Bourton Park on the 27 January will provide a meaningful opportunity for attendees to consider how we can all make our society a better place today, free from hatred, prejudice and discrimination. We learn more, empathise more and do more.”