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Southampton hosts candle lighting ceremony for Holocaust Memorial Day

Published: 
22 January 2015

The University of Southampton is collaborating with Southampton Solent University to stage the lighting of a specially designed candle to mark Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD).

Picture courtesy of Sir Anish Kapoor
HMD Candle

The candle, created by Turner Prize winning artist Sir Anish Kapoor, is one of 70 which will be lit across the UK to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp during the Second World War.

A ceremony will take place at Southampton Solent University Conference Centre, Above Bar Street in Southampton at 6pm on Tuesday 27 January. Holocaust survivor, Arieh Simonsohn – who was imprisoned by the Nazis during the war – will light the candle to begin a moment of reflection, honouring the survivors of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides.

Mr Simonsohn will share some of his experiences of being held in the Warsaw Ghetto as a boy, before he escaped to join a group of Jewish Partisans. There will be a drama performance by Southampton Solent students and also a recital of commemorative music by local songwriter Helen Bonney, chosen from hundreds of applications sent to the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust – the charity responsible for marking HMD in the UK.

Event organiser Dr Tom Plant, from the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations at the University of Southampton, says: “Holocaust Memorial Day is an important focal point in the year and we are delighted to have been selected to be part of this nationwide commemoration. It is vital that we remember and reflect upon the horrors of the past, and honour those who survived.”

Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, says: “Sir Anish Kapoor has created a beautiful candle to mark Holocaust Memorial Day on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. When all 70 candles are lit throughout the country, it will be a poignant moment of remembrance and a time for us all to ensure we keep the memory alive.”

Sir Anish Kapoor is best known for his sculpture work, including the ArcelorMittal Orbit, an observation tower built in the Olympic Park for London 2012, and Chicago’s mirrored, legume-shaped Cloud Gate, which is more commonly known as the Bean. He was awarded the Turner Prize from the Tate in 1991 and received a Knighthood in the 2013 Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to visual arts.

The Holocaust Memorial Day event is free and open to all. Special candles will also be lit at a national commemorative event in central London and at Auschwitz, as part of international commemorations.

Phil Gibson, Head of Student Services at Southampton Solent University says: “We are pleased to host this annual event which reflects the University’s commitment to inclusion, social justice and the local community.”

For more information about Holocaust Memorial Day and the events taking place visit www.hmd.org.uk or follow The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust on Twitter @hmd_UK #hmd2015.

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