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True meaning of home is theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2019

Monday, 21 January 2019

Home. For most people the word suggests a place of safety, solace, comfort and security. So what trauma is faced by those torn away from their home - their country, community or dwelling?

That uneasy question lies at the heart of the Island's Holocaust Memorial Day 2019, when members of the public will be asked to reflect on the theme 'Torn from Home'.

The annual service brings together people from all walks of life to remember victims of the Holocaust and the genocides which followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. In similar services across the UK, thousands of people come together each year to learn about the past and commit to a better future, remembering all who have suffered persecution worldwide.

This year's event will be held on 27 January 2019 at St Mary of the Isle Church in Hill Street, Douglas at 3pm, and is a multidenominational service open to people of all faiths and none.

Organiser Carol Jempson said:

'Through readings, prayers, music and song we will find out what happens when people are driven from their homes to escape persecution and violence. We'll think about the difficulties survivors face as they try to build new homes, often in a new country with a different language and culture. And realise that home means something personal to each of us.

'The service will remember how in Nazi Germany, Jewish people had their homes taken from them before being condemned to unspeakable misery and suffering. Genocide forces people to flee their home and start again elsewhere, without the security and support of family and friends. We hope that by reflecting on what home means, and how we'd cope if we had to leave ours, this year's theme will resonate with people in all sorts of ways.'

The Chief Minister Howard Quayle will give a reading at the service, highlighting the importance of teaching tolerance and understanding in our schools, places of worship and at home.

Mr Quayle said:

'Holocaust Memorial Day is an important occasion in Manx public life. It is both an act of solemn remembrance and an opportunity to commit, publicly and collectively, to build a society which does not tolerate persecution.

'Home means different things to different people. Many Manx residents regard the Isle of Man as home, as well as the house they live in, and that speaks of a supportive and welcoming community. We must all work to ensure that our community is welcoming and inclusive to those who choose to make their home here.'

Pupils from each of the Island's secondary schools will take part in the service, which will be attended by the President of Tynwald Steve Rodan and members of the Manx parliament alongside representatives from churches and community groups from around the Island.

The service is open to all and those attending are asked to be in their seats by 2.45pm.

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