Alsop students honour genocide victims

Alsop High School played a leading role in Holocaust Memorial Day Civic Service at Liverpool Town Hall. The theme of this years’ commemoration was “Torn from home.”

Students from Archbishop Beck Catholic College and partner primary schools joined students from Alsop for the service.

The presentation involved the reading of words of people who survived the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. Alsop head boy, Matthew McCartney spoke the opening words of the schools’ presentation. Retired Liverpool teacher, Ms Marian McQueen, compiled the series of readings and reflections.

The assembled congregation also listened to beautiful music provided by students from King David High School.

Alsop students, Lauren Alexander, Cayne Reid and Emma Fitzgerald also participated in the presentation after recently returning from a moving visit to Auschwitz, as part of a visit organised by the Holocaust Educational Trust.

Matthew McCartney said: “We were delighted to read the opening and closing words of the presentation. It was a great honour and privilege to speak out and remind people of the horrors of genocide.

“Our visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp was an incredibly moving experience. Since returning to school, we have seized opportunities to share what we witnessed to other students. This has allowed us to reflect upon the issues facing society today.”

The civic service was in the presence of The Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Christine Banks. Councillor Banks reminded those gathered that we all “must stand up to hatred in all its forms.”

Rabbi Natan Fagleman, from Allerton Hebrew Congregation, recited prayers. The service also included an Act of Commitment from the leaders of Merseyside Christian Churches. Church leaders made a solemn pledge to eradicate all forms of racism and hatred from society.

The guest speaker Rabbi Dr Martin Van den Bergh from Childwall Hebrew Congregation spoke about how members of his own family perished during the Holocaust. He also spoke about how his parents fled from Holland.

Mr Bull, head of RE at Alsop High School, said: “It was an honour for Alsop to be asked to participate in this powerful service. We must stand up to hatred and prejudice. We must never forget those who perished during the Holocaust and work together to build a society based upon respect and fairness.”

The service concluded with a beautiful rendition of Oseh shalom bim’romav. This item sang by King David choir reminded the congregation to work for peace both at home and abroad.

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