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St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds to mark Holocaust Memorial Day with special service

A cathedral in Bury St Edmunds is to mark Holocaust Memorial Day next week with a special service.

The service will be held by St Edmundsbury Cathedral in the Abbey Gardens’ Peace Garden from 10.30am as a way to remember victims of genocide.

The theme for this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) is Fragility of Freedom. The title reflects the ten stages of genocide, as identified by Professor Gregory Stanton, which demonstrate that genocide never just happens. Instead, it’s a staged process where piece by piece, freedom is taken from a group of people by limiting movement, religion, creativity and more.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral will be making Holocaust Memorial Day with a special service. Picture: Tamika Green
St Edmundsbury Cathedral will be making Holocaust Memorial Day with a special service. Picture: Tamika Green

During Holocaust Memorial Day, all victims of genocide are remembered, including more recent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

Guildhall Feoffment, County High School and King Edward VI will join the service and contribute readings and music.

The cathedral will also be open throughout the day for reflection and contemplation.

Later in the day at 7pm, the St Edmundsbury Cathedral Youth Choir will offer an act of meditation for the day. They will sing works exploring themes of suffering, peace and reconciliation, including Gregorio Allegri’s famous Miserere mei, Deus. This liturgical performance will take place by candlelight at the High Altar.

The Rev Canon Matthew Vernon said: “This year, it feels especially important to reflect on the victims of genocide as we see a horrifying humanitarian crisis unfolding in Israel and Gaza. We should all feel the call to challenge discrimination in our time and to better understand how, stage by stage, it can occur.”

There is also an exhibition called We have to move on: Jewish refugees in Suffolk in WW2 which can be viewed at the cathedral from January 23 to February 4.

The exhibition looks at the stories of the Jewish refugees who found a safe home in Newmarket in Suffolk during the Second World War.

This travelling exhibition from the National Horseracing Museum and Suffolk Archives was inspired by the memoir of lawyer and cellist Fritz Ball, who wrote about his experiences as a refugee in Suffolk.

On January 27, the cathedral tower will be lit in purple, along with iconic buildings and landmarks in the UK, for HMD’s Light the Darkness campaign – a powerful national moment of commemoration and solidarity.

The public can also take part by placing a candle safely in their window at 8pm on that evening.