Scores of people packed into St Mary in the Castle on Saturday (January 24), for the town’s annual Holocaust Memorial Day service.
More than 250 gathered at the venue to reflect on those who died, as well as survivors.
Organiser Brian Linke said: “I was very pleased with the event, which was very well-attended. This year’s theme was Keeping The Memory Alive.
“We were honoured that His Excellency Mr Andris Teikmanis, the Latvian ambassador, accepted our invitation to attend. He gave a very powerful speech on how Latvian individuals had suffered during the terrible events of the Second World War.
“Trish Russell and Peter Lennard remembered Brighton resident Stanley Faull who died just last year, having been one of the only members of his family to survive the Holocaust. He came to Brighton after the war and became a very successful businessman, but remained compassionate and caring throughout his life.
“One of the highlights of the event was a superb dance by Acromax Performance Group, from Helenswood Academy, which gave an exhilarating, and intensely moving, dance entitled Keeping The Memory Alive. Some of the group’s members are just 11, yet they were, simply, brilliant.
“Amber Rudd MP gave a reading explaining Stolpersteine, memorial stones which are created to honour individuals who died in the Holocaust. And Opera South East was, as always, excellent, providing music at the start and end of our service.
“It was a very thought-provoking morning, and showed yet again how we must all work together to stop these atrocities from happening.
“I am very grateful to all those who helped in the organisation of the event.”
The service was supported by Hastings Borough Council, and attended by the Mayor Bruce Dowling and council leader Jeremy Birch, who added: “It was another very moving service.
“I was especially pleased to be able to introduce the Latvian ambassador, who chose to come and commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day with us here. I was interested to learn that he and his wife are regular visitors to Hastings.
“I am very grateful to Brian Linke, the Rev Chris Sears and their small team who worked so hard to organise it, also to Niall Whitehead from Helenswood whose students put on such a powerful performance. Every year Brian finds another angle for us to consider Holocaust Memorial Day from, and so deepen our knowledge of those terrible events.”