Marking its 10th anniversary as an annual event in the United Kingdom, Holocaust Memorial Day was commemorated as usual with prayers, solemn ceremonies and candle-lightings.
And, at one London synagogue, a glimpse at part of pre-Holocaust Jewish life in Europe.
Westminster Synagogue, which in 1964 took possession of some 1,500 Torah scrolls from Czechoslovakia discovered after World War II in an abandoned Prague synagogue, which restored the scrolls, and which has distributed most of them over the years to Jewish institutions around the world on permanent loan, put the so-called Czech Scrolls on display.
About 150 sifrei Torah, the most-damaged ones that had been discovered as part of the Nazis’ depository of artifacts from an “extinct race,” remain in Westminster Synagogue, which recently established a state-of-the art museum dedicated to the Czech Torah Network.
A visitor, above, looks at the display of scrolls.
At other Holocaust Memorial Day events in England – the commemoration coincides with the anniversary of Auschwitz’s liberation – participants signed a Book of Commitment against discrimination, and wore stickers that read “Stand up to Hatred.”
London Mayor Boris Johnson addressed several hundred people at London Town Hall, and Prime Minister Gordon Brown urged Britons to resist hatred “wherever it is found today.
“We all like to think that we know what we would do in the face of hatred – that in a moment of decision we would honor our obligations to resist brutality and to stand with its victims,” Brown said, adding that “while hatred may begin with small acts of prejudice or bigotry, it rarely ends with them.”