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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 January 2007, 19:55 GMT
Victims of Holocaust remembered
Jews arriving at concentration camp
Six million Jews were killed by the Nazis
More than 100 Holocaust survivors have gathered for a national service marking the 62nd anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps.

Survivors and their families joined a 1,200-strong audience at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day.

Victims of other atrocities, such as those in Cambodia, Bosnia and Rwanda, were also remembered.

Speakers included Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks and minister Ruth Kelly.

Six million Jews died at the hands of the Nazis during the Holocaust. Between 1940 and 1945 about 1.5 million people died at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.

Auschwitz
About 1.5 million people died at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp

Organisers said they hoped the commemoration would ensure the persecution of the Jews by Hitler's regime would never be forgotten.

Appeals were also made to stop the deaths in Darfur.

The audience listened to speeches, music and personal testimonies about the atrocities.

Outside the theatre a collage made of coloured stones, coal and pulses, representing the Holocaust Memorial Day flame, was laid out on the pavement.

Ms Kelly, the Communities and Local Government Secretary, told the audience: "The Holocaust was an appalling atrocity, one of the darkest pages in European history, a crime unparalleled in scope and evil."

She added: "The memory of the Holocaust should spur us all to stand up for the civilised values we share. It should spur us to fight against prejudice."

'Human challenge'

Sir Jonathan called on people to remember the other victims of the Holocaust, including gay people, gypsies, the mentally handicapped and the physically disabled.

He said: "The great human challenge is to honour what we have in common while respecting what makes us different because if we had nothing in common we would be unable to communicate, and if we had everything in common we would have nothing to say.

"If we do not learn the lessons of the past then I fear for our future."

As the commemoration event drew to a close, nine-year-old Tutu Manyena, from Zimbabwe, joined death camp survivor Chaim Nagelsztajn to light a memorial candle.

As a boy Mr Nagelsztajn was ordered to dig mass graves for neighbours and friends who had been gunned down. Members of his family were taken away and shot.

Another survivor who attended was Rohan Becher, 77, who was nine-years-old when the war started.

He said: "We are the only living testament of what really happened. The written word doesn't have the same force.

"Already there are deniers but they can't challenge me because I was there."


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
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SEE ALSO
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22 Jan 07 |  Isle of Man
Brown unveils holocaust memorial
06 Jan 07 |  Edinburgh and East
Holocaust denier verdict upheld
04 Sep 06 |  Europe

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