There were at least 500 people in attendance including the Chief Executive of East Sussex County Council, the Lord-Lieutenant, Eastbourne’s Mayor and Caroline Ansell MP. With a theme of 'Stand Together', the evening's contributions were solemn, reflective and thought provoking.
Councillor Wallis opened the proceedings formally; this was followed by the lighting of commemorative candles and the recital of the Mourner's Kaddish in Hebrew. There followed reflections, poems and performed prayers and the International Voice Orchestra led a moving rendition of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’.
Joseph Connelly, First Year pupil at Bede’s, says, "The highlight of the event was a talk from Dorit Oliver-Wolff, a Holocaust survivor. Dorit told the gripped audience about her life, from escaping war torn former Yugoslavia to Hungary as a six year-old child, twice escaping from Nazi detention camps, to having to hide from the Nazis in a cold dark cellar with her mother with very little food for nine months. Amazingly, Dorit survived the war and went on to follow her dream of becoming a singer, becoming a ‘pop star’ in Germany in the 1950s and 1960s. Dorit is now retired and lives in Eastbourne. She talks regularly to schools and groups, and even though the story she tells is extremely shocking, she is very funny and engaging."
Upper Fifth pupil Barney was honoured to accept a copy of ‘The Missing – The True Story of My Family in World War II’ by Michael Rosen from the organisers for the school library. He felt that the "Holocaust Memorial event was very moving, touching and inspirational".
James Whitaker, Head of History and Government & Politics at Bede’s, comments, “Bede’s would like to extend its thanks to Devan Briggs and Eastbourne Borough Council for the invite to such a special event.”