Gibraltar remembers the Holocaust
International Holocaust Memorial Day was marked across the Rock yesterday, with a minute’s silence marked in Convent Place as local schools held commemorative assemblies and presentations.
At midday the Governor Lieutenant General Edward Davis, the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and other dignitaries commemorated Holocaust Memorial Day with a one-minute silence as a mark of respect for victims of all genocides.
Government staff observed the silence outside their department buildings.
Bishop Fitzgerald School held a school assembly where on the hall wall was a display of butterflies that had been coloured in and contained a message. Each of the 410 pupils in the school created a butterfly.
“We wanted to make this day a very special day to remember all the people who died during the Holocaust,” said Bishop Fitzgerald School Headteacher, Lianne Parral.
“The butterfly is a symbol of freedom and what we felt is that even though these people died, their bodies remained in the Concentration Camp and we thought that we could show that their souls could be freed through the butterfly,” Mrs Parral added.
The project is the brainchild of Mrs Parral, the acting arts coordinator, Charles Linares, and the history coordinator Lyanne Ressa.
Working on Mr Linares original concept they took inspiration from elsewhere the butterflies came about as the thought it would be a good way too giving the children a way to get involved.
“It gave them a way to create their own messages as well as have a lesson on the Holocaust,” said Mrs Parral.
“I think it has been quite touching for the children, they almost feel as if they have been part of remembering this and mainly children because we have talked a lot about how many children died during the Holocaust.
One student from each class stood at the front of assembly and read out the words on their butterfly.
After this, the pupils watched and listened to a presentation on the Holocaust and learnt that 1.5 million children were killed during that time. They were further taught that as it was only 72 years ago there are still survivors alive and telling their story.
In addition, they learnt that despite decades ago the UN declaring that it would never happen again genocide is still occurring in the world, noting Darfur as a most recent example of this.
Westside School commemorated Holocaust Memorial Day with a lunchtime presentation in the Drama Studio that included a selection of readings and extracts of performance from Years 8 to 13 students.
The theme was 'How can life go on?', and explored the responsibilities we have as human beings in the wake of the Holocaust and other genocides. The commemorative presentation ended with the lighting of candles and a one-minute silence.