Holocaust Memorial Day

Dr Lee Andrew, Assistant Head (Pastoral), reflects on the annual Holocaust memorial, which was held at Worcester Guildhall on Saturday 26 January:

“Holocaust Memorial Day is held on 27 January, the day in 1945 when Auschwitz was liberated. On Saturday I accompanied Beth Rabjohn, Head Girl, and Seth Lewis, Deputy Head Boy, as they represented RGS at this event. It was, as you would expect, a deeply moving and solemn occasion. This year’s theme was ‘Torn from Home’. We reflected on what ‘home’ means to people and what it must mean to be torn from home as a victim of persecution and hatred. We remembered the Holocaust and other genocides, where people had been persecuted, torn from home, tortured and murdered on the basis of their religion or ethnicity. 

We were humbled to meet and hear Dieudonne Ganza Gahizi speak. Gahizi is a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Gahizi recounted, amongst other things, running for his life at the age of nine years old, as men chased him with machetes. They threw a spear at him, which narrowly missed his head. During the 100 days of Genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda, Gahizi lost more than 50 family members, including his father. He had chosen to speak about what happened to him and his humanitarian work has been recognised by his receiving many awards.  He founded a charity called the Healing Plan Organisation, which supports victims and survivors  of the Rwandan Genocide.’

Beth Rabjohn said: “I found the Holocaust Memorial Day to be deeply moving, not only when I heard the account from a survivor of the Rwandan genocide, but also when I saw the devastated reactions from the other attendees as we all were given a first-hand telling of the tragedy that humans can inflict upon one another. This, along with the other readings, amounted to an emotional morning that left us all with much to dwell upon. I felt honoured to take part in such an important memorial, which is integral to ensuring that we do not see such horrors ever again.’