Huddersfield will be the setting for a major holocaust memorial event this Thursday.
It will begin with a parade through the town centre followed by commemorations involving a Holocaust survivor, schoolchildren and musicians.
It comes just two days before national Holocaust Memorial Day on Saturday.
Four giant puppets will parade through the streets of Huddersfield with music and singing from five cultures, including local band Slick Stick Sambastic and Iranian drummer Arian Sadr, to remember the Jewish and Roma genocides of the Holocaust and the Kurdish and Bosnian genocides of Halabja and Srebrenica. Roma and Kurdish “Weeping Sisters” will join the Jewish and Bosnian sisters created for last year’s parade.
This year, Roma and Kurdish participants with friends and supporters made the new puppets in Dewsbury and Huddersfield. Delegates from Italy, Serbia and Poland will take part in the procession.
The puppets will arrive at the Oastler Building at the University of Huddersfield in time for the start of an indoor event called Beyond Words at 7pm.
The European group from Reggio Emilia in Italy, Lublin in Poland and Subotica in Serbia, together with Holocaust survivor Iby Knill and young people from Batley Girls High School will remember the events of the Holocaust and compare the treatment of refugees during that time with the experience of contemporary refugees across Europe.
Artists and trustees from the 6 million+ Charitable Trust visited all three countries last year, taking a film of the Weeping Sisters procession from last year’s Holocaust Memorial Day event and sharing stories from survivors and refugees from West Yorkshire.
The 6 million+ Charitable Trust develops a programme of information, education, creative arts and live events, exploring the connections between the Holocaust and the experience of persecuted minorities in the world today, especially those people who seek sanctuary in our community.
The day’s programme will end with a special performance of Pavel Haas’ String Quartet no. 3 at St Paul’s Hall, University of Huddersfield at 9pm performed by The Meiningen Ensemble.
Haas was a significant Czech composer who was imprisoned at Theresiensatdt in 1941 and murdered at Auschwitz in 1944.
Project Coordinator Kim Strickson said “We are really looking forward to welcoming our visitors to Huddersfield again and working with them and our local communities to create a very special event that encourages people to work together across borders and boundaries.”
Everyone is welcome to attend any element of the programme of Holocaust Memorial Day events and entrance is free.
Holocaust Memorial Day remembers the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur. January 27 marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.