Wirral is set to take part in world-wide commemorations on Monday 27 January to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The camp was liberated by Soviet soldiers on 27 January 1945 – 75 years ago to the day.
The date is recognised around the world every year as Holocaust Memorial Day. Each year 800 local schoolchildren attend a special service of learning and remembrance at the Floral Pavilion. This year will see additional activities to mark the milestone anniversary.
75 lanterns – one for each year since the liberation of the camp – will be lit around the boat pond in Port Sunlight as the sun sets at 4.15pm to mark this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day.
A silver birch tree will also be planted in Birkenhead Park to provide a long-term reminder of the anniversary. The silver birch has been especially chosen as they grow all around Birkenau and, like Birkenhead itself, it is likely that Birkenau’s name derives from the area’s birch trees – Birken means birch in German.
The Holocaust saw the systematic murder of millions of Jews during the Second World War. Jewish people from across Europe – from Jersey to the Greek Islands – were rounded up and sent to death camps in Nazi occupied Poland and eastern Europe, where they were subject to unimaginable cruelty including forced labour, medical experimentation and murder. Around seven in every 10 European Jews were killed. Other groups of people were also cruelly targeted based on their ethnicity, political outlook, disability and sexual orientation.
Mayor of Wirral, Cllr Tony Smith, said: “Holocaust Memorial Day is a day for everyone to reflect on those terrible events in our recent history. I would encourage as many people as possible to join me and the Mayoress at the boat pond in Port Sunlight, which will provide a calm and reflective setting for everyone to take a moment to remember to all those who were killed or suffered Nazi persecution.”
Lanterns containing memorial candles will be displayed at the boat pond outside the Lady Lever Art Gallery and Port Sunlight Museum from 4.15pm until 7.00pm on Monday 27 January.