Sadiq Khan attended the the community’s central commemoration for Yom HaShoah on Sunday in his very first public engagement since becoming London mayor.
In a powerful statement which underlines his message to be a mayor for all Londoners, the first Muslim elected to City Hall joined thousands of community members to honour the millions killed in the Holocaust and paid tribute to the British soldiers who fought the Nazis.
Khan, who secured 57 percent of the vote after second preferences, has been at the forefront of condemning anti-Semitism in Labour in recent weeks.
Speakers included the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev and TV star Judge Rob Rinder, who is the grandson of a survivor, while the event also saw more than 150 survivors join a choir comprising pupils from five primary schools.
The event returned to Barnet Copthall Stadium a year after it hosted the country’s largest ever event marking Yom HaShoah, the memorial Day for the Jewish community, with 5,0000 in attendance.
Yom HaShoah UK has once again brought together 120 organisations from across the religious and political spectrum to support the ‘Remember Together – We Are One’ campaign.
Yom HaShoah UK Chairman Neil Martin said: “Last year, we hosted the largest Holocaust commemoration ever held in the UK. In many ways, this year’s 71st Anniversary is even more important than the 70th, because we, as a community, will honour the pledge made last year to Survivors and Refugees.”
Survivor Ben Helfgott MBE, who was also due to address the gathering, added: “I was moved to tears as I watched the children’s choir sing ‘Never Again’ and heard the leaders of our youth movements commit to marking Yom HaShoah each year. We are passing the baton of remembrance on to the UK Jewish community with a lot of confidence.”
Communities Secretary Greg Clark said: “The terrible crimes perpetrated during the Holocaust must never be forgotten – Yom HaShoah gives us time to pause and reflect on that dark chapter in Europe’s history. Hatred has no place in our society, and must be crushed decisively as soon as it appears to ensure it cannot grow.”
It’s understood both mayoral front runners were invited to the event several weeks ago.