2Thousands of community members are set to return to Barnet Copthall to mark Yom HaShoah, a year after the stadium hosted the UK’s largest ever Holocaust memorial event.

Organisers acted on the calls from survivors and their families for another large-scale commemoration – and hope to attract an even larger audience than the 5,000 who attended last year.

The event will be organised by Yom HaShoah UK and supported by 120 organisations across the religious spectrum.

Neil Martin, who is chairing the organising committee, said: “We were touched to have received so many messages asking if we would do it again next year. The 71st anniversary may not feel as important than the 70th, but in many ways it’s more so. Will we as a community on the pledge to Survivors and Refugees we made last year to remember?”

A girl lights memorial candles at a Yom Hashoah ceremony

A girl lights memorial candles at a Yom Hashoah ceremony

Last year, harrowing survivor testimony, the BBC radio broadcast marking the liberation of Bergen-Belsen and a memorial prayer featuring the names of concentration camps played out amid silence at the home of a rugby club more familiar with screaming fans.

In a sign of the cross-communal nature of the gathering, figures from six synagogue bodies from the joined survivors and members of the third generation to light candles in honour of Jews and non-Jews whose lives were brutally cut short, heroes of the Holocaust and the lost generation whose contribution to the world would never be known.

Survivor Ben Helfgott, who is also part of the committee, said he was “absolutely delighted” the event would happen again, having last year pledged to work for as long as he could for repeats in future years. “I feel fulfilled,” he said at the time, expressing delight at the number of young people who turned up. “I was moved to tears [to hear leaders of young movements commit to marking Yom HaShoah].”

Martin said he hoped this year’s event on 8th May would see “larger numbers taking part on stage including hundreds of children from across Jewish primary schools singing, more in the adult choir and even more musicians.  We hope even more will also attend”.