Pupils host Scottish Holocaust Memorial Day event

Schools across the country have been taking part in a number of special events to remember the 11 million people who died in the horrors of the Holocaust and other atrocities.

Jean Paul Samputu Holocaust event

The week culminated with a special Scottish Holocaust Memorial Day event held in the City Chambers and hosted by two senior pupils from Holyrood Secondary School.

The annual memorial is a reminder to young and old alike of the many atrocities over the years which have seen communities destroyed. This includes the Holocaust, under Nazi persecution and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

The theme of this year's event is Communities Together: Build a Bridge and has been organised by the council in conjunction with the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, Interfaith Scotland and the Scottish Government.

Guest speakers on the day included Jean Paul Samputu, a Rwandan genocide survivor and a prominent cultural ambassador for his country and Sello Hatang.  Sello is the Nelson Mandela Foundation's information and communication manager, and spokesperson.  He was previously a senior manager at South Africa's Human Rights Commission.

The event brings together Glasgow school pupils to share their learning about the Holocaust and subsequent genocides and included pieces of drama from Shawlands Academy and Holyrood Secondary.  St Anne's Primary school choir also sang the Holocaust Memorial Day song (A Bridge of Voice) and Fix This - their anti-sectarian recording.

Councillor Soriya Siddique, Chair of the council's Children and Families Policy Development Committee, who attended the event, said: "It is important that the stories of Holocaust and genocide survivors are heard and remembered. Their testimonies are powerful reminders of the futility and human cost of war.

"Our young people should not be shielded from the atrocities of what has taken place during the Holocaust and wars.  Learning about discrimination and how this has no place in our society is firmly embedded in the school curriculum and we will all hopefully learn from the mistakes of the past."

An additional event, hosted by the Lord Provost, Councillor Sadie Docherty, took place in the City Chambers and was attended by Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister.

Nicola Sturgeon said: "On days like today it is absolutely vital that we pay tribute to the millions of individuals who have lost their lives, families and homes as a result of the Nazi Holocaust and subsequent genocides throughout the world.

"This year's theme 'Communities Together: Build a Bridge' should encourage us all to reach out and build relationships with those around us.   We are extremely lucky here in Scotland to have such a rich and diverse population - and by standing together and fighting prejudice we can continue to be a nation where people are proud to live."

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