Moving tributes to those who lost their lives in the Holocaust were paid by special guests and speakers.
More than 170 guests attended the special event organised by North Tyneside Council on Tuesday to pay tribute to the men, women and children who died during the Second World War and those who survived the Holocaust.
The Holocaust Memorial Day service, at the council’s Cobalt headquarters, had a special theme as it marked 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica, Bosnia.
Rabbi Aaron Lipsey lit a candle on the Holocaust Memorial Plaque in the reception area.
The ceremony was chaired by the council chairman Coun Tommy Mulvenna, who shared his own family’s personal memories of that time.
He said: “Today is all about ‘keeping the memory alive’ and it has truly been brought alive to everyone here today by our speakers and the children who have performed their own songs, poems and readings.
“We are remembering people of all ages who were killed in the most dreadful ways, even children, so I think that the children’s tributes today have been especially moving.”
Students from Monkseaton High School and Churchill Community College reflected on their recent visit to Auschwitz, in particular the difficulty they found in coming to terms with the size of the camp and the huge number of people who died there; and then trying to convey the emotion they felt to their classmates when they returned.
Guest speaker, George Loble, told of his journey from Germany as a 12-year-old Jewish boy in March 1939, leaving his parents behind and speaking virtually no English, with only a few clothes and 10 shillings – the maximum amount he was permitted to take abroad.
George was given a new home in England and his parents joined him two months later. They went on to set up home in Gateshead, but sadly his grandmothers were not so fortunate and died in the camps.
George has written a book about his family’s experiences, ‘The Boy from Bamberg’, which is available to download free at www.theboyfrombamberg.com