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Council marks Holocaust Memorial Day with public event

Bridgend County Borough Council marked Holocaust Memorial Day today with a free public event to commemorate the victims and honour the survivors of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides.

In partnership with Bridgend College, the annual event was held in the Sony Theatre and welcomed over 160 members of the public to remember the millions of innocent lives lost in the Holocaust and genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

The event saw special guest Eric Murangwa Eugene, a survivor of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, speak about his experiences during and after the genocide. A passionate genocide education campaigner, Murangwa believes his families’ survival was thanks to the courage and humanity shown by his former football teammates.

Murangwa has a self-proclaimed mission to make sport an integral part of the Rwandan reconciliation and reconstruction process by ensuring sport is used for social change and life skills, as well as for leisure.

As part of the ceremony, the traditional ‘Seven Statements of Commitment’ were read by community representatives and a candle of remembrance was lit by Mayor of Bridgend County Borough, Councillor Pam Davies. A twenty second silence was also held to remember the lives that were tragically lost.

In addition, Rabbi Michoel Rose from Cardiff United Synagogue provided a Jewish prayer and pupils from local schools read poems and a life story by Rennie Inow. To close the event, Bridgend College Performing Arts students, Kasey Jane Lewis and Kaitlyn Phippin, performed ‘All That Matters.’

Attendees were also invited to write their thoughts on a postcard as part of this year’s theme - ‘The Power of Words.’ These were posted in a special posting box during the event and will be sent on to Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.

It’s vital for all human beings to reflect, remember and learn from the past and that is why we are so proud in Bridgend County Borough to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day in the way that we do each year.

We were extremely privileged to welcome Eric Murangwa Eugene. His story was truly inspiring and I’m completely in awe of how he spoke so movingly about his own experiences, as well as the many other poignant contributions we heard.

Our annual memorial event enables us as a community to reflect on past events and come together to promote diversity and equality within Bridgend County Borough.

Councillor Hywel Williams, Deputy Leader of the council

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