Thursday, February 2, 2012 posted by Steve Williams

Yesterday afternoon I went to the Floral Pavilion for the Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration.  About 700 children from 27 schools across Wirral were in the audience.  Many are Year 11 History and Humanities students.  Despite have attended four times it ceases to amaze and inspire me.  The main part of the day is a talk from Rudi Oppenheimer, a Holocaust survivor.  Despite being 80 years old Rudi talks for about an hour and a half,  colourfully describing events from him being a young boy to present day.  He also displays a great sense of humour.

It is always so interesting to see so many youngsters come into the theatre quite noisy and boisterous, yet after Rudi has started talking, and they see realise the enormity of it, in the auditorium you can hear a pin drop.  Some students took part in a candle lighting ceremony and 2 in particular, Holly Pierce and Olivia Dragicevic from Prenton High School, gave an entertaining talk about their recent visit to Auswicz and Bergen Belsen.

This is the 11th year of this event. The initial speaker was Paul Oppenheimer, Rudi’s elder brother who sadly died in 2007.  Following this Rudi took his role in ‘spreading the word’ about these atrocities.  There is an excellent book available  From Belsen to Buckingham Palace that was written by Paul.

This years commemoration went extremely well thanks to the organisation headed by Deidre Smith, Principal Manager of the Children & Young People’s Department and her team.  A very poignant address was also given by Mark Parkinson, Acting Deputy Director.  The Mayor of Wirral, the Bishop of Birkenhead, Jane Owens who is the Chair of Wirral Governors’ Forum, and five fellow councillors also attended, and all agreed it was an excellent awe-inspiring event.

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