PEOPLE in the community will be invited to 'stand together' to mark Holocaust Memorial Day .

The South West Dorset Multi-Cultural Network, supported by Dorset Council and Dorchester Town Council is hosting its annual free event to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Gillian Walnes Perry, the honorary Vice-President of the Anne Frank Trust is guest speaker.

The free event is being held at the Corn Exchange in Dorchester this Friday, January 24 from 12.30pm-1.30pm and is open to everyone.

The theme for HMD 2020 is ‘Stand Together’. The anniversary represents a significant milestone and is made particularly poignant by the dwindling number of survivors who are able to share their testimony. It also marks the 25th anniversary of the genocide in Bosnia.

Cllr Pauline Batstone, Chairman of Dorset Council and Chairman of the Dorset Race Equality Council, said: “At this event we ask people to learn lessons from the past to create a safer, better future. The theme ‘Stand Together’ gives everyone an opportunity to stand together with our local communities, across boundaries of faith, age and ethnicity.”

Pupils from Sunninghill Preparatory School will share poetry they’ve been inspired to write having learnt about the Holocaust and genocide. Betty Billington-Smith from Kushti Bok will read a poem written especially for the event by poet Ray Wills.

The event will conclude with a lighting of candles, and a minute’s silence. Free refreshments will be served afterwards.

Rachelle Smith, secretary of the Multi-Cultural Network, said “We are looking forward to our local community coming together to remember victims of the Holocaust and those whose lives have been affected by exclusion and hatred in subsequent genocides.”

The Corn Exchange will open from midday to allow people time to view exhibits before the event starts at 12.30pm.

Several Dorset Council Libraries have exhibitions about Holocaust Memorial Day including Weymouth, Dorchester, Portland, Wareham and Sturminster Newton.

Other events in Dorset taking place to commemorate the Holocaust include:

The Legacy of Anne Frank - Literary Event in Dorchester

The South West Multicultural Network invite members of the public to a free talk on Friday 24 January between 3.00 – 4.30pm at the Corn Exchange, Dorchester. Our speaker is Gillian Walnes Perry, author of a book of the same title – and co-founder of The Anne Frank Trust UK.

Memorial event in Weymouth

The Weymouth Mayor, Cllr Graham Winter, will lead this service around the Memorial Tree in Radipole Gardens on Monday 27 January at 10am. Linking into the National theme for 2020 – Stand Together and the 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. This is an open air short service, all are welcome to attend.