Holocaust Memorial Day Events

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This commemoration event took place on January 27th, when communities share the memory of the millions who were murdered in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides including in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

The 2016 theme was ‘Don’t Stand By’.

The events to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day in Stornoway included a Seminar to raise awareness of equality and human rights issues, which took place at Stornoway Town Hall.

The other event was a diverse live music, audio and visual experiences in the town’s an Lanntair centre.

Well over 100 people participated in the events and it was hailed as a great success.

The seminar held in the morning of the 27th in the Town Hall included Liz Scott, Diversity Manager Highland and Islands Enterprise, Shirley Mitchinson, a former Head of Religious Education and a Trustee of the Highland LGBT Forum and Elena Piras, a professional musician who is registered blind and has a hearing impairment.

The seminar was chaired by Rev T K Shadakshari, Strategic Diversity Lead Officer with NHS Western Isles.

All three speakers delivered powerful presentations on equality and human rights issues and the group were joined by Chris Oswald from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) on skype , who commented on a number of issues raised, including homophobia and offered advice on how the EHRC can assist in tackling hate crime and discrimination.

The Diversity and Equality Steering Group are to meet shortly to progress some of the issues raised at the seminar ensuring that this year’s theme is adopted.

The evening event in an Lanntair shared some very powerful and challenging music and visual effects with a very appreciative audience.

It was a moving night of speeches, poetry, film, visual images and music.

Artists included Gavin Woods and Douglas Leadbetter who opened the event by playing a very powerful piece by Mahler, ‘The Drummer Boy’.

Alan Fish then played ‘With God on our Side’. The Shed followed playing a haunting tribute to the Holocaust victims - ‘Ride ‘em Jewboy’ and then the poetic account of the journey to concentration camps: ‘This Train Revised’.

In the background there were clips from Michelle Kelso’s ‘Hidden Sorrows’.

Neosa continued with ‘Flowers of Guatemala’ and this was followed by ‘Beds are Burning’.

In the second half, special guest Elena Piras sang ‘Summer Walkers’ and then the penultimate number ‘Always Ask the Question’ - The Shed’s recently recorded track written by Gerry Blane, which is being used as a fundraiser for Amnesty International.

There then followed the optimistic finale to end all finales ‘Ode to Joy’, with a unique Western Isles style flash mob, including musicians from the Big Band, the Stornoway Singers with soloist Cath Fish, musicians from the Nicolson Institute and many others.

An evening that will never be forgotten.