WWII survivors speak at Suffolk school for Holocaust Memorial Day

Lawrence Goldman, Ms Raphael, Ms D'Alcorn, Mr Linser, Janet Gershlick, Mr Gahizi and Chris Ure Pictu

Lawrence Goldman, Ms Raphael, Ms D'Alcorn, Mr Linser, Janet Gershlick, Mr Gahizi and Chris Ure Picture: IAN LOMAS - Credit: IAN LOMAS

Survivors of genocides across the world movingly spoke at a Holocaust Memorial Day event held in Suffolk about the importance of stamping out all forms of discrimination.

Several speakers shared their thoughts on Holocaust Memorial Day, not just about the horrific acts p

Several speakers shared their thoughts on Holocaust Memorial Day, not just about the horrific acts performed during WWII but also about genocides that happened across the world. Ganza Gahizi spoke of his survival of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda Picture: IAN LOMAS - Credit: IAN LOMAS

The theatre at St Felix School in Reydon, near Southwold, was full of students and members of the public to hear from those survived some of the worst conflicts and war crimes in human history.

After opening remarks from headteacher James Harrison, Nigel Spencer MBE gave a talk about the Kindertransport - where 10,000 children were moved from Nazi-occupied terrorities to safety in Britain and other countries.

Mr Lisner and Mr Gahizi talking after their speeches at St Felix School in Reydon for Holocaust Memo

Mr Lisner and Mr Gahizi talking after their speeches at St Felix School in Reydon for Holocaust Memorial Day Picture: IAN LOMAS - Credit: IAN LOMAS

He made special reference to the school's role at that time, when it opened its doors to accommodate 200 boys during the severe winter of 1938.

Speakers at the community-wide HMD event on Monday, January 27 included Evelyne Raphael, who spoke about her time in Vichy France in hiding from the Nazis having to hide in the cellar every time someone called at the front door.

Klezmerized, a Norwich-based band, ended the day with a performance of eastern European Klezmer musi

Klezmerized, a Norwich-based band, ended the day with a performance of eastern European Klezmer music Picture: IAN LOMAS - Credit: IAN LOMAS

Larry Lisner told the moving story of his late father who had been a survivor of Auschwitz, but suffered with the trauma of those memories until his death in 2003.

Recognising the atrocities that followed, Ganza Gahizi spoke of his survival of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda, when he only nine years old.

Ms Raphael, Larry Lisner and Ganza Gahizi, who spoke at Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27 Picture

Ms Raphael, Larry Lisner and Ganza Gahizi, who spoke at Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27 Picture: IAN LOMAS - Credit: IAN LOMAS

Despite the harrowing loss of 50 members of his family, Mr Gahizi said he had managed to reach a point of healing and forgiveness.

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His message chimed with the event's theme of 'stand together'.

Picture: IAN LOMAS

Picture: IAN LOMAS - Credit: IAN LOMAS

Chris Ure, who helped organise the event, said: "A huge attendance of almost 200 people so well reflected the 2020 theme of 'stand together'.

"We so much wanted the whole community to come together to stand against intolerance and the language of hatred in our society, and that is what they did."

Klezmerized, a Norwich-based band, ended the day with a performance of eastern European Klezmer musi

Klezmerized, a Norwich-based band, ended the day with a performance of eastern European Klezmer music Picture: IAN LOMAS - Credit: IAN LOMAS

Fran D'Alcorn, former headmistress at St Felix School and one of the event organisers, added: "It is important that everyone should leave this school not just understanding the part Saint Felix School played, but also what can happen if extreme politics takes over."

The event ended with a performance of Klezmer music, which originated from the Jewish neighbourhood across eastern Europe in the 1700s, played by the four-piece Norwich-based band 'Klezmerized'.

Hundreds of people attended the event in the St Felix School theatre Picture: IAN LOMAS

Hundreds of people attended the event in the St Felix School theatre Picture: IAN LOMAS - Credit: IAN LOMAS

James Harrison, headteacher at St Felix School in Reydon Picture: IAN LOMAS

James Harrison, headteacher at St Felix School in Reydon Picture: IAN LOMAS - Credit: IAN LOMAS

Evelyne Raphael spoke to the students about her time trying to survive in WWII France by hiding in a

Evelyne Raphael spoke to the students about her time trying to survive in WWII France by hiding in a cellar every time someone knocked at the front door Picture: IAN LOMAS - Credit: IAN LOMAS

Fran D'Alcorn, former headteacher at St Felix School in Reydon Picture: IAN LOMAS

Fran D'Alcorn, former headteacher at St Felix School in Reydon Picture: IAN LOMAS - Credit: IAN LOMAS

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