Chelmsford City Council supports the annual Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration organised by the Chelmsford Jewish Community and would like to invite everyone to attend at 7pm on Monday 23 January 2017 in the Council Chamber at Chelmsford City Council, Civic Centre, Dukes Street, Chelmsford, CM1 1JE.

Holocaust Memorial Day is the international day of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust and other genocides. It is marked each year on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

This year the principal guest will be Leslie Kleinman. Leslie was born in Romania in 1929 and taken to the ghetto in Satu Mare in the first week of April 1944 before being transferred to Auschwitz on 16 May 1944.

Chairman of Chelmsford Jewish Community, Stanley Keller, said: “The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2017 is ’How Can Life Go On?’ We will hear from Leslie Kleinman and his wife, Miriam, precisely how the survivors coped in the aftermath of the horrors of the concentration camps and how they made new lives for themselves. We hope Mr Kleinman’s personal testimony will reinforce the message that such atrocities should never be allowed to happen again and that all discrimination, whether by race, religion, colour or gender are finally eliminated.”

This year has seen the passing away of many more of the dwindling group of survivors and witnesses to the Holocaust. Three world famous survivors went to their rest: Elie Wiesel, also born in Romania and Nobel Peace Prize recipient died 3 July 2016 and Walter Kohn, Nobel Prize Winner for Chemistry in 1998, who came to England as part of the Kinderstransport rescue operation, died on the 19 April 2016 and Imre Kertesz, Nobel Prize Winner for Literature in 2002 died on 31 March 2016. Three immense figures who illustrate ‘How Life Can Go On’.”

We have an obligation to ensure that we keep alive the memory both of those who survived and of those who did not. This commemoration provides an opportunity to learn of and reflect on many memories and to hear the testimony of Leslie Kleinman who is now resident in Westcliff-on-Sea.

It is important that young people learn what happened so the message can carry forward and we are pleased that our local schools will be represented on the night. In Chelmsford, additionally, Holocaust Memorial Day provides an annual opportunity to assess how far we have progressed towards inclusion and diversity in our society.

Admission to the commemoration is free but by prior reservation only. Places are limited so please book early by calling 01245 475444 or by emailing Light refreshments will be available from 7pm. There will be no admittance once the commemoration has started promptly at 7.30pm.