Hundreds in London mark Holocaust

LONDON (JTA) — Britain marked international Holocaust Memorial Day under the banner "Stand Up to Hatred."

Mayor Boris Johnson addressed a gathering of several hundred people Tuesday at London Town Hall after Holocaust survivor Rody Openheimer spoke of his experience. Openheimer told the crowd that they needed to make sure those events are not forgotten.

Britain has marked Holocaust Memorial Day since 2001 by remembering not only the 6 million Jews who were murdered during World War II, but also those murdered in subsequent genocides throughout the world.

This year the main event was Sunday at Coventry, with local commemoration ceremonies taking place throughout the country.

The Muslim Council of Britain, an umbrella organization of more than 500 Muslim organizations, boycotted the commemorations this year to protest Israel’s military action in the Gaza Strip. The organization has previously boycotted the annual event.

British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks in his address to the London audience said it was important for the world to stand up to hate and prejudice.

"We must all take a stand whenever we see hate or prejudice in any form because each of us can make a difference," Sacks said. "When I see anti-Semitism I protest — but I protest, too, when Muslims are targeted or Hindus or Sikhs, or whatever group in our society, because hate is dangerous."

Dr. Stephen Smith, chairman of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, said that "Holocaust Memorial Day 2009 urges people to choose to ‘Stand up to Hatred’ and help make our communities stronger and safer."
 

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