Holocaust memorial day -whole school assembly script primary

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(with thanks to HMD 2013)

This week it will be Holocaust Memorial Day. Each year on or around the 27th January we learn about terrible events that happened in the past when people were unfairly treated, suffered and many killed because some people felt they were different.

Holocaust Memorial Day is a National day of remembrance for all the many millions of people who have died and those that survived these terrible events. It is a time when we pause to reflect and think about what can happen when we forget the importance of respecting each other’s differences and instead of trying to understand one another some people cause barriers, turn to prejudice and, racism.

This is exactly what happened 70 years ago in Germany and most of Europe, when 6 million Jewish people lost their lives because their religion was seen as different. Now I know you are probably thinking but that was such a long time ago – it would never happen now. Sadly you are wrong.

We have not learned our lessons from that terrible time. There have been sad events in Cambodia in the 1970’s, where many people were either imprisoned or disappeared never to be seen by their families again and in Rwanda and Darfur in Africa, where many children have lost their parents because of fighting between communities who hated each other.

It has also happened in Bosnia, where people of different faiths just didn’t want to live together.

We learn about these shameful times in our past so that we can learn lessons from them and make sure that they don’t happen again.

How can we do this? How can each be responsible for creating a safe, happy and friendly community where we can all live and work together?

Well, that’s exactly what this year’s Holocaust Memorial theme is all about, it’s called: Communities Together: Build a Bridge. It reminds us of the importance of everyone in our school, neighborhoods and community working together. It doesn’t matter that we are different in age or height. It doesn’t matter if we all look different or celebrate different occasions with our families. We all make up one community.

Let me explain: Imagine we are all individual pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. We all need all the different pieces to join together to build the whole picture. It is the same with our community – each and every one of us is unique and has a really important role to play and is also an important part of that jigsaw.

But we’re not building a jigsaw today, we are building a bridge. A bridge is a powerful symbol that brings people together.

That’s just like the communities we live in – we need to build bridges to reach out to each part of our community, to connect to each other, to get to know each other, to understand and respect each other, to make sure there is no barriers between us all.

It is important that communities do not become divided in the future, in our future – we must remember that everyone is equal. We can start by getting to know and supporting all the people around us, in school, in our out- of- school clubs and playgroups, in our neighbourhoods.

We are all individuals who share this world together – it is important that we support one another, treat one another fairly, with respect and celebrate differences.

There may be difficult times in our lives and that’s when we turn to the people around us, our families and our friends, there may also be a time when we need to turn to the community around us for help. What difference can one person make? A little, yes, but as you see, when communities reach out and join together in voice and action, they become strong, happy and safe places to live in. In the words of Daoud Hari, a brave man who has survived some awful events that took place between neighbours in Darfur, Africa:

“What can one person do? You make friends of course and do what you can.”

So, what can you do to help build a bridge in our school, in the playground, classrooms and in our neighbourhood?

Your teacher will give a ‘brick’ to write on. On it you can make a promise of what you can do to connect with others...to create one large bridge that we will turn into a big school display.

For example your brick might say: I will build a bridge:

I want to get to know and make friends with more people in my school.

I would like to find out more about other cultures and faiths that are different to my own.

I would like to understand more about the places where all my friends and their families are from.

By learning from the past we can ensure that we can make a better, safer future but we are all responsible. We need to all work together to make sure that no-one is left out, made to feel different in a bad way; we need to learn to respect each other and learn that together, we are stronger and happier. We know that when different things and different people come together, it can make life more interesting and meaningful. We are all part of something and should celebrate the coming together of people and the differences between each of us.

Time for reflection

Light a candle – explain that it takes one candle to light another and another until the world is full of light - just like it takes one person to makes friends with another and another until we are joined in one happy community. On this Holocaust Memorial Assembly let us think about all those people who have suffered and been treated unfairly. Let us learn from the past to build a better future....

Ellie Olmer

Little Reddings School

You can find out more and Build a Bridge at http://buildabridge.hmd.org.uk/

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