Students from Alsop High School and partner primary schools attended Liverpool town hall, for the civic service for Holocaust Memorial Day.
The service involved the reading of a poem specially written by Liverpool poet, John Gorman and drew on the words of Anne Frank and Alexander Kimel, a Holocaust survivor. Both had a religious faith, but Kimel’s work was a prayer. Further poems were read by Poppy Hill, Lucy Philips and Iwan Williams and King David High School choir and musicians supplied the music.
Alsop students Alex Birkett and Aaron Blanchard read the opening verses with students from north Liverpool schools, who had participated in the FAITH 2017 initiative, reading out further verses. Throughout the poem, students asserted the phrase “I do believe, with all my heart in the natural goodness of man, this I do believe”
The service was in the presence of the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, councillor Malcolm Kennedy who reminded those gathered that we all “must fight intolerance that breeds hatred.” Rabbi Dr Martin van den Bergh, from Childwall Hebrew Congregation, recited prayers.
The guest speaker Mrs Hazel Verbov, spoke movingly about her late father, Rev Leslie Hardman who was the first Jewish padre to visit Belsen after it was liberated in 1945. She spoke about the horrific sight he encountered as he witnessed the carnage of the genocide.
Peter Bull, head of RE at Alsop High School, said: “It was an honour for Alsop to be asked to participate in this powerful service of readings, music, prayers and speeches. We must never forget those who perished during the Holocaust and work together to build a society based upon respect and fairness.”
Councillor Nick Small, said: “On Holocaust Memorial Day we honoured the dead to alert the living about the Shoah and all genocides. It is important that, through education, children learn about the horror and inhumanity of genocide. Thanks to all our schools.”