Westminster Abbey Marks Auschwitz Anniversary
Monday, 2nd February 2015
A Service of Solemn Commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz was held at Westminster Abbey on Sunday 1st February 2015.
The Service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, who said in his Bidding:
We gather in this holy place of faith at the heart of our nation to commemorate the beginning of the end 70 years ago of the horror in Auschwitz-Birkenau. We shall give thanks for those who fought to destroy the vicious regime whose systematic programme was to exterminate the Jewish people, together with Roma and homosexuals and others, throughout continental Europe.
As we reflect this evening on the cruel suffering and terrible death they endured in the Holocaust, may we recognise with pride the courage of so many who withstood the terror and tended the sick and dying.
May we recognise with shame the latent cruelty that lurks beneath our human skin and the ease with which we mark as alien other groups and ethnicities of humanity. May we repent of treating as less than human people we should see as brothers and sisters under God.
Ruth Rosen read from the foreword to the Diary of Anne Frank; Rabbi Helen Freeman, Principal Rabbi, West London Synagogue, read Lamentations 2: 8-11; Anita Lasker-Wallfisch and Zigi Shipper, survivors, Auschwitz-Birkenau, read Testimonies; and the Reverend Professor Vernon White, Canon in Residence, read 1 Corinthians 13.
Sir Andrew Motion read his poem, Finis, written specially for the Service.
The Address was given by Rabbi The Baroness Neuberger DBE, Senior Rabbi, West London Synagogue.
A string quartet of Tanya Sweiry (violin), Ariel Lang (violin), Joe Bronstein (viola) and Auriol Evans (cello) played Allegro moderato from String Quartet no 3 Op 46 by Viktor Ullman, killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944, as the memorial candles of the Shoah candelabra were lit by: Renee Salt, survivor, Auschwitz-Birkenau; Jacob Gryn, grandchild of Rabbi Hugo Gryn; His Excellency Dr Peter Ammon, Ambassador of Germany to the Court of St James; Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive, Stonewall; Alan Gosschalk, Fundraising Director, Scope UK; and Valdemar Kalinin, representative of the Roma community.