Taoiseach to give main address at Holocaust commemoration

Event takes place annually on Sunday closest to liberation of Auschwitz by Soviets in 1945

The Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps in Poland were liberated by Soviet forces on January 27th, 1945. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps in Poland were liberated by Soviet forces on January 27th, 1945. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will deliver the keynote address at next Sunday’s National Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration in Dublin’s Mansion House.

The event has taken place annually since 2000, when Ireland signed an international agreement to commit to remembrance of the Holocaust.

It takes place in Dublin on the last Sunday in January, close to the date when the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps in Poland were liberated by Soviet forces on January 27th, 1945.

Also taking part this year will be Lord Mayor of Dublin Cllr Mícheál Mac Donncha and Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan.

As part of the ceremony six candles are lit for the six million Jewish people who perished in the Holocaust as well as candles for other victim groups murdered by the Nazis because of their ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, political affiliations or their religious beliefs. There are also readings, including survivors’ recollections, and music.

Scroll of names

More than 100 pupils from Stratford College, Dublin; St Aloysius’ College in Carrigtohill, Co Cork; St Dominic’s College, Ballyfermot, Dublin, and St Gerald’s College, Castlebar, Co Mayo, will take part in the ceremony with 12 pupils reading from the scroll of names, an Irish memorial to family members of people living in Ireland who were murdered in the Holocaust.

In attendance this year too will be Holocaust survivors Suzi Diamond, Tomi Reichental, and Jan Kaminski. Suzi Diamond was deported to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on the last transport of Jews to leave Budapest in Hungary.

Adopted in Dublin

She and her brother Terry survived and were brought to Ireland by Dr Bob Collis, who arranged for them to be adopted by a Jewish couple in Dublin. Recently she learned her father died as a slave labourer in the Soviet Union and discovered living family members in Hungary and the US, having believed for most of her life that she was the only Holocaust survivor in her family.

Tomi Reichental was a child in Bergen-Belsen. He is from Piestany in Slovakia and was nine years old when the Nazis deported him with his mother, grandmother, aunt, cousin and brother to the concentration camp. He lost 35 members of his family in the Holocaust. He came to Ireland in 1960.

Jan Kaminski, from Balgoraj in Poland, escaped a round-up of the Jews and in 1942 when aged 10 and fled into the forest. He spent the war on the run while his entire family perished.

He now lives in Dublin and his personal testimony will be delivered by his daughter Jadzia Kaminska on Sunday.