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Watford Borough Council Town Hall

Holocaust Memorial Day: Watford Town Hall to be lit up

Watford Town Hall will be lit up in purple this Wednesday 27 January with other organisations up and down the country to recognise Holocaust Memorial Day…

[from]  Holocaust Memorial Day marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, and remembers the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust and everyone killed in the genocides that followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

The theme of this year’s commemoration is ‘Be the light in the darkness’, and the Town Hall will join other prominent buildings across the UK by being lit in purple. The town will also use it as an opportunity to remember the key role that Watford had with the ‘Kindertransport’ mission. The operation took thousands of children to safety ahead of World War Two (1939-1945), from families that were persecuted for being Jews primarily.

In 1939, Mrs. Kathleen Freeman gave up her home for refugee children, which become known as the “Welcome House” located near Watford Junction station and later at Nascot Wood House. In 1964, Mrs. Freeman was awarded an O.B.E. for all her ‘outstanding services and untiring devotion to the cause of the world’s children’, from some years before 1939 continuing to well after 1945.

Kindertransport 1943 group with mrs f 0001

Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: “It’s so important to continue to learn and recognise the Holocaust and hear about survivors’ testimonies. With rising antisemitism, it’s especially important for the next generation to hear where hatred can lead.”

“Holocaust Memorial Day is an opportunity for everyone to pause, reflect and learn lessons from the past and apply them to the present day, to create a safer, better future. We will also remember victims of atrocities and genocides around the world, as well as those who are still sadly losing their lives through war, conflict and hate crime.”

Cllr Aga Dychton, Chairman of the Council said “As we remember the horrors of the past on Holocaust Memorial Day, the Town Hall will be lit up brightly in purple to serve as both a mark of respect and a symbol of hope for the future.

“This year’s theme is particularly poignant right now during this challenging time of uncertainty. During the pandemic, we have seen individuals from all different communities and faith groups, join together to help their neighbours and offer a beacon of hope in dark times.”

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