Two events will be taking place in Sunderland to mark Holocaust Memorial Day (27th January).

On Friday 25th January at 10.00 a.m., the mayor of Sunderland – Cllr Linda Scanlan – will open a two-day exhibition dedicated to the life and legacy of Anne Frank.

Anne – a young Jewish girl – wrote a famous diary while hiding from the Nazis in Holland during World War II. Tragically, Anne was eventually captured and she perished in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

Entitled Anne Frank: A History for Today, the exhibition will be held in the main square of the Bridges Shopping Centre. The exhibition has been organised by Sunderland Interfaith Forum.

When she opens the exhibition, Cllr Scalan will be joined by the Reverend Chris Howson from the Interfaith Forum and by Mr Tony Wortman, the president of Seaburn Rotary, who are helping to fund the exhibition.

Cllr Scanlan said, “I’d like to thank the Sunderland Interfaith Forum for helping to arrange this event, and Grace Dunne from the Anne Frank Trust UK for bringing this exhibition to Sunderland as part of our city’s Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations.”

“This exhibition tells the story of Anne Frank and her famous diary, which documented her life in hiding during the German occupation of the Netherlands and is one of the most widely read books in the world.”

“The exhibition is set against the background of the Holocaust and the Second World War, challenging visitors to think about the concepts of tolerance, mutual respect, human rights and democracy.”

“I’d also like to thank the Bridges Shopping Centre for hosting the exhibition, where it can be seen by the thousands of people passing through every day with their friends and family.”

The Anne Frank Trust UK’s north east regional manager, Grace Dunne, said, “We are delighted to have the opportunity to bring A History for Today to Sunderland to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day.”

“Anne was an extraordinarily talented young woman, but she was also an ordinary teenager, with many of the same experiences and dreams as young people today.”

“Visitors to the Bridges Shopping Centre will have the opportunity to learn about the Holocaust from the perspective of Anne and her family, and really grasp the human consequences of war and persecution.”

The exhibition will be open to the public from 10.00 am to 5.30 pm on Friday 25th January and Saturday 26th January.

On Monday 28th January, a Holocaust Memorial Evening will take place at Sunderland Minster.

The evening – which begins at 6.30 pm – will include a performance from Redby Primary Academy Choir. There will be Yiddish folk music courtesy of Rabbi Borts.

Prayers and readings will reflect the theme of this year’s International Holocaust Memorial Day, which is ‘Torn from Home’.

The evening will also feature a guest speaker, Mrs Gabriel Keenaghan. As a child, Mrs Keenaghan escaped Germany on the last ‘Kindertrain’ to leave Berlin.

The Kindertrains were part of the Kindertransport programme, a rescue effort that helped Jewish children flee Germany, Czechoslovakia and Poland before the outbreak of the Second World War. After leaving Berlin, Mrs Keenaghan never saw her parents again.

(The featured image, courtesy of Rae Allen from Flickr Creative Commons, shows a mural of Anne Frank outside the Anne Frank Centre in Berlin.)

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