by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2007-01-28
The northern city of Newcastle was the focus of this year's Holocaust Memorial Day as it hosted the main national event to remember the millions of Jews and non-Jews who were murdered in Europe by the Nazi regime during World War II.
More than 1200 people including over 100 who survived the Holocaust took part in the Sunday event.
The audience gathered in the city's Theatre Royal and heard speeches and music from those who survived as well as from politicians and religious leaders.
As well as reflecting on the murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime during World War II, the event also recognised those who have suffered in other mass killings including Rwanda and Darfur.
Nine-year-old schoolboy Tutu Manyena from Zimbabwe lit a memorial candle at the end of the event with Newcastle resident Chaim Nagelsztajn who survived Majdanek and Auschwitz extermination camps.
"The Holocaust was an appalling atrocity, one of the darkest pages in European history, a crime unparalleled in scope and evil," said Communities Minister Ruth Kelly. "It was unthinkable: it was planned. It was unimaginable: it was made real. And the consequences for men and women like us, and families like our own, were horrific."
Reflecting this years theme of Dignity Of Difference, Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks said: "At the heart of evil is dislike of the unlike, the fear of difference, the belief that because you are not like me you are a threat to me. Fear becomes hate and hate begets violence and violence turns to murder and murder becomes the attempted annihilation of a whole group."
He added: "If we do not learn the lessons of the past then I fear for our future."
Earlier in the day, Newcastle held a civic reception hosted by the Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Councillor Diane Packham.
While also during the day, a drawing representing the Holocaust Memorial Day flame was laid out on the pavement outside the Theatre Royal by six artists from Dodgy Clutch Theatre Company.