An East End Remembrance
Yesterday, Contributing Photographer Colin O’Brien & I joined the pupils of Morpeth School at the Alderney, Britain’s oldest Ashkenazi cemetery, for a remembrance upon the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp. Around thirty senior pupils walked over from Bethnal Green to the cemetery for a modest service. Standing quietly in a semi-circle, they listened while a fellow student who had visited the camp recently gave a bare historical account of what took place there. Then four others read out survivors’ testimonies and there was a minute’s silence followed by the lighting of candles.
It was a group that was mixed in creed and race, yet united in respect as demonstrated by their uniformly subdued demeanour. In the minute’s silence, I looked around at the pupils standing in the January sunshine among the stillness of the tombs in this most ancient of graveyards. It was a welcome moment of peace upon an anniversary that only resonates more painfully in the light of recent violence in Europe.
Photographs copyright © Colin O’Brien
You may like to read more about Jewish Cemeteries in the East End