A group of young people from Huddersfield’s Pakistan Youth Forum (PYF) helped to commemorate the loss of over six million human lives in one of the world’s most tragic genocides of ethnic cleansing in recent history.
Staged at Huddersfield Town Hall, the event was held to coincide with the unveiling of a sculpture, designed by artist Antonia Stowe, made up of six million buttons in remembrance of each life which was lost during the Holocaust.
The young people from the PYF displayed their work alongside fellow community groups and adults, with design similar to that of the centerpiece. Their particular contribution was to develop a table top model which demonstrated their own take on what the Holocaust meant to them.
Throughout the day, the young people said they found the event ‘informative’ and ‘inspiring’ reminding them about important values such as ‘respecting human life’.
PYF Project Coordinator, Sofia Buncy, emphasised the importance of learning about such historic events which affected so many people’s lives.
She said: “What impressed me most was how hard young people worked to understand and to help to commemorate something that happened in the past.
“Tragedies are still ongoing in other countries today and these needs to be challenged and addressed as we all have a humanitarian commitment to this. Thus the Holocaust Memorial event has a real meaning for us all.”
20-year-old, Aadil Yousaf, and Sanah Firdous, 19, both partook in the activities on the day, and explained why they wanted to get involved.
“It was important for us to be part of the evening. We have showed humanity in terms of good things and bad things, the Holocaust is as important to us as it is to young people from other communities,” Sanah said.
Aadil continued by explaining how he knew little about the holocaust beforehand: “This was a first; although we have briefly touched on the holocaust in school I really did not understand full scale of things until this event.”
Kim Stickson, Community Heritage Manager for Kirklees Council, added: “It was very important for us to hear ideas, comments and reflections from local people on what the new memorial should be like and who it would touch.
“PYF have been a fantastic group to work with because they understand that the sculpture will be much more than a memorial to the Holocaust.
“It will acknowledge all the genocides that have taken place since and will be a significant place of learning and discussion for young people about the dangers of discrimination.
“They played a major role in the Holocaust Memorial Day event in Huddersfield and the audience was visibly moved and impressed by their presentation.”