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Lockdown means Portsmouth is not able to hold its annual ceremony for Holocaust Memorial Day but the city will still mark the occasion with virtual events.

Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Rob Wood, will give a reading and light a candle as part of a virtual event on Portsmouth City Council’s website on 27 January.

Holocaust Memorial Day is a national event held to remember the millions of people who lost their lives or suffered in the Holocaust, under Nazi persecution, and also in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

This year’s theme is “Be the light in the darkness” and encourages everyone to reflect on the depths humanity can sink to, but also the ways individuals and communities resisted that darkness to ‘be the light’ before, during and after genocide.

The D-Day Story has also arranged two free online events to mark the occasion. Ruth Barnett, who in 1939 was one of the thousands of children brought to the UK from Nazi Germany, will take part in an online 90-minute talk and Q&A while there will also be a virtual talk from the University of Portsmouth’s Christine Berberich on how young people can be engaged and educated on the Holocaust.

Both events are free but must be booked in advance on the D-Day Story website.

Lord Mayor Cllr Rob Wood said: “It is important we remember the atrocities of the past so that they don’t happen again in the future. Even though we can’t bring people together to do that this year I’m glad we’re holding virtual events to ensure Portsmouth still marks Holocaust Memorial Day and there is a focal point for residents who want to take part.”

To view Portsmouth City Council’s virtual event will be available on the council’s events webpage.