In every assembly during the week commencing 28 January, Notre Dame students spoke passionately about Holocaust Memorial Day. The commemorative date of January 27 allows us to remember those killed in the Holocaust, as well as those who died in subsequent genocides. We also honour the survivors of genocides, including those who have spoken out about their experiences.
Each year, Holocaust Memorial Day has a theme focusing on remembrance and learning from past events. This year’s theme was ‘Torn From Home’. One of our students spoke about her personal experience as a refugee from Eritrea. Other students talked about events in Rwanda and Myanmar, before quoting Holocaust Survivor Edith Eger.
‘To run away from the past or to fight against our present pain is to imprison ourselves. Freedom is accepting what is and forgiving ourselves, in opening our hearts to discover the miracles that exist now. You can’t change what happened, you can’t change what you did or what was done to you. But you can choose to live now. My precious, you can choose to be free.’
Every assembly began with a moving rendition of ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’ played and sung by students Beth McManus and Omaatla Phiri. Each one ended with a moment of reflection, followed by a prayer written in a Jewish concentration camp.
We’d like to thank the students involved for their commitment to commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day, and their mature approach to this subject. They were upper sixth students Fiori Medhane, Byron Nouakolo and Lucas Sanches De Carvalho, and lower sixth students Matt Gerrard, Mollie McLean and Annwen Thurlow.