Various guest speakers and schools across the UK took part in the National Holocaust Centre and Museums online memorial service.
Marc Cave, Director of the National Holocaust Centre & Museum started the event with a Darkness and Light Film featuring Martay M’kenzy and Rob Rinder, encouraging the public to be the light in the darkness.
Many guest speakers spoke throughout the service, including Dr Martin Stern MBE, who is a Holocaust survivor and speaker.
In 1944 Martin was just 5 years old and living in Amsterdam, but during a normal school day his form teacher asked the children to line up and then two young dutch men walked in and asked if he was there.
His teacher told them that he had not come in that day, but at age 5 Martin was unaware of what was going on and announced that he was there.
Martin was then taken to another school that had been turned into a holding centre for the Nazi’s and was questioned by a member of the SS.
Martin said: “I was then tricked into showing recognition of the man who with his wife for two years had looked after me.
“My father who was a Jew had to go into hiding was hidden by a farming family near Amsterdam airport, who hid at any one time up to 70 Jews.
“The farmer who hid my father and his son both died in concentration camps for what they did, they were lights in the darkness.”
Lord John Mann, Government Independent Adviser on Antisemitism who focuses on antisemitism in football also spoke.
He said: “It struck me that the reach of football is far greater than anyone else in anything else in this country, and why shouldn’t football do it’s little bit.
“I’ve worked with the players on racism within football and have tried to promote and assist what they are saying, and the abuse that they get.
“If a Football club like Manchester United, Liverpool, etc did something on antisemitism and put that out there the reach is world wide.
“Football should be standing up against all forms of racism and hatred, when it does its reach is far bigger than any government or institution.”
Chelsea FC Chairman, Bruce Buck also spoke.
Chelsea FC were the first club in the world to adopt the Ihra definition of antisemitism.
Bruce said: “It’s the most important sport in the world, millions maybe billions of people are talking about it and watching it every day.
“Once you’ve got their attention then your efforts have to be focused on giving them the right message, and to educate them in the right way, which is all we are trying to do for our fans around the corner and our fans around the world.”
Schoolchildren from The Jewish Community Secondary School then got the chance to ask questions to Leicester City FC Player James Justin, and schoolchildren from Loughborough High School were able to ask questions to Chelsea FC Player Callum Hudson-Odoi about their roles in football, the effects of the Holocaust and racism.
Callum said: “Chelsea have done very well in that sense of trying to educate us as much as possible and letting us know what has happened beforehand and ways of making sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Crystal Palace Women’s goalkeeper, Chloe Morgan, who has been fighting hate crime through football said:
“My main ambition really is to try and create positive change, so that the next generations don’t see the same kind of issues that we experience in the terms of inequality and racism now.”
Marc Cave then passed the presenting over to Rabbi Eli Levin of South Hampstead Synagogue, who spoke about the importance of remembrance and reflection.
He said: “This is a remembrance candle which also lights up our future and reflects the spark inside each of us that empowers human beings to connect, to be peaceful, and to make the world a brighter place.”
Schoolchildren across the UK were then shown lighting their candles in remembrance of the Holocaust, including pupils of Dukeries in Nottingham.
The service then finished with a few more words from Martin, about his experience as a Holocaust survivor and the importance of today.
“The lessons from the Holocaust apply to every part of humanity, and to every genocide. And the examples of light in the darkness we have heard about, are an example not only for jews but for every human being equally.”