THE refuge and safety offered by Bradford to people fleeing trauma will be highlighted on Holocaust Memorial Day.

This year's theme is Torn from Home, reflecting on the loss of a safe place to call ‘home’ for victims of persecution, genocide and displacement. Millions of people in families and communities were driven out of their homes during the Holocaust, and some survivors found a new home in Bradford.

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A Holocaust Memorial event at City Hall from 11am on Friday will also mark the 25th anniversary of the Rwanda genocide and the 40th anniversary of the end of the Cambodia genocide. The event will be led by the Right Reverend Dr Toby Howarth, Bishop of Bradford, and the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Zafar Ali will light the main candle.

Students from Grange Technology College will read poetry, and guest speakers are Nigel Grizzard from the Bradford Synagogue, Nijam Uddin, secretary of Bradford Rohingya Community, Dr Zuhair Bashar from Refugee Action and Martin Baines, chairman of Bradford Hate Crime Alliance. Candles will be lit for Bradford’s Jewish community, hidden Jewish child survivors and their rescuers, and victims of the Holodomor in Ukraine and genocides in Srebrenica, Cambodia, Darfur and Rwanda.

On Sunday Bradford Cathedral will hold a Holocaust Memorial Day service at 4pm. Judge Laurence Saffer, who sits in Bradford and is president of the Leeds Jewish Representative Council, will reflect on how the enforced loss of home is part of the trauma faced by those experiencing persecution and genocide.

Historian Nigel Grizzard, who will speak at City Hall on Friday on behalf of Bradford’s Jewish community, said: “Bradford was a tremendous place for receiving people who were torn from their homes. Many people built new lives in Bradford and found work in industry, as doctors, dentists and other professions. A lot of the city’s German teachers were refugees after the war.

“There were two hostels here for Jewish children who escaped on the Kindertransport - one in Manningham and one in Ilkley - and I would like to see plaques on these buildings.”

Mr Grizzard’s great grandparents and other family members died in the Holocaust. They were killed in a small village in Lithuania under Nazi occupation, and buried in a mass grave there.

He said: “As survivors of the Holocaust are fewer and fewer it is important to keep alive the memory of them and what happened to them. It is left to their grandchildren to be the guardians of their memory.

“This is particularly important now with the rise of anti-semitism and dark forces in the radical left and right.”

The Peace Museum is marking Holocaust Memorial Day in Bradford schools with workshops called Everyone Comes From Somewhere. The workshops explore the story of Axel Landmann, a nine-year-old Jewish boy from Germany who arrived in Britain in 1938 along with 10,000 other children as part of the Kindertransport, an organised refugee migration of children persecuted under the Nazi regime. The museum holds the suitcase that Axel brought with him on his journey.

Axel's story will be on a special blog going live on the museum's website on Sunday. Visit