Organisers of the Holocaust Memorial Day event in Dorchester called it the most emotional one yet.

Dorset paid tribute to the millions of people who died as a result of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides.

In Weymouth, residents gathered at Radipole Gardens in the morning, where a service was held.

Meanwhile, a special event was held at the Corn Exchange in Dorchester by South West Dorset Multicultural Network in the afternoon.

This year marked the 25th anniversary of the Genocide in Rwanda. The theme of the event was being ‘Torn from Home.’

The event opened with an audio recording of former speaker Harry Grenville, which was played to the audience.

Mr Grenville sadly died in November last year.

In his recording, he described how he was torn from his home when he fled Nazi persecution aboard the Kindertransport, which was an organised to rescue Jewish children prior to the outbreak of the Second World War.

Mr Grenville said he wasn’t terribly worried about being separated from his parents at the time because he thought he would be reunited with them in America.

However, he explained nobody could foresee the events of Pearl Harbour, which brought the US into the Second World War.

He never saw his parents again after arriving in Britain, and it wasn’t until 2013, that he discovered they had died in the extermination camp in Auschwitz.

Mona Elkotory, Chairman of South West Dorset Multicultural Network, said: “The Nazis persecuted people they deemed to be different. But sadly, as you are all aware, such discrimination of racial or religious groups is not a thing of the past. It’s still happening in Myanmar and other parts of the world.”

Speaking after the event, she added: “I think it’s been extremely moving, and everybody has spoken from the heart. The message of today is not just about the Holocaust which happened more than 70 years ago, and millions of people were killed, but about all genocides happening around the world.

“We also say goodbye to Harry, who was an amazing man. He always looked for reconciliation and tried to bring people together through love. And today is a message of love and peace because the world doesn’t need war it doesn’t need weapons of mass destruction.”

Emotional plea from girls:

The room fell silent when two girls from The Thomas Hardye School spoke about the discrimination of the LGBT community and Muslims, respectively.

The first girl said: “For me, being a member of the LGBT community, what troubled me most when researching this was that there are very few names to put to numbers. I hope in the future that there’s more acceptance.”

The second girl, spoke tearfully about the reported genocide in Myanmar, against Rohingya Muslims.

She explained how discrimination against Muslims still takes place in the UK today, referring to Punish a Muslim Day. She said that although she lives in Dorchester, her sister and her, were too afraid to leave their house at the time.

She said: “My message to everyone is to really get to know your neighbour. If you really care what’s happening in the world, you need to start in your community and do something now.”

Both girls received a huge applause from the audience.

Kevin Matthews, humanities teacher at The Thomas Hardye School, said: “I think the girls did incredibly well today speaking about something so personal to both.”

Also attending the event were pupils from Sunninghill School, who reflected on the Holocaust through poetry.

The event closed with a lighting of the candles, before a memorial event for Mr Grenville.