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Holocaust Memorial Day 2015

On Tuesday, 27th January 2015, Bosnia and Herzegovina Community Association actively took part in another Holocaust Memorial Commemoration, 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Ceremony, which was this year themed "Keep The Memory Alive",  was attended by senior officials including his Excellency the Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina in London Mustafa Mujezinovic, the Ambassador for Armenia, Armen Sarkissian, Mayor of Derby Shiraz Khan and Fedir Kurlak, chief executive and general secretary of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain.

Ceremony began at 3pm at Bridge Chapel, where reflection and meditation took place led by the Dean of Derby, the Very Rev Dr John Davies. From the Bridge Chapel the observance moved to the trees dedicated to Anne Frank and Olga Nahlak, on the green opposite the Bridge Chapel. Here, Iryna Bates from Derby's Ukrainian Community read her poem before stones were laid by the officials including his Excellency Mustafa Mujezinovic.

By 4:15pm, everybody gathered at Bosnia and Herzegovina Centre for the commemoration of the Bosnian war and 20th anniversary since Srebrenica genocide. Guests were addressed by the Chair of Bosnia and Herzegovina Community Association Nermina Webster before, at 4:30pm, Derby's 70th anniversary Holocaust memorial candle was lit by Medina Salkic, Srebrenica genocide survivor who lost her father, brother and many other male relatives and by Bahrudin Muhic, also a Srebrenica genocide survivor  who lost his father and other relatives. This special candle was one of only 70 to be awarded to local groups by the national Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.

Lighting the candle was followed by survivors biographies which were read by Hannah Stirland and Elliot Emery on behalf of survivors. Biographies were simultaneously accompanied by the Srebrenica genocide PowerPoint presentation. There was also a short presentation by Sam Barrett, member of Remembering Srebrenica organisation who recently visited Bosnia and Memorial Centre at Potocari. His Excellence Mustafa Mujezinovic and Mayor of Derby also delivered a short speech before everyone was able to enjoy traditional refreshments in the centre.

The flame from the 70th anniversary candle was preserved in a hurricane lamp and taken to the Cathedral by Ferid Kevric and Bahrudin Muhic where it was lit for the second time, by Russell Pollard in commemoration of the centenary of the Armenian genocide. Multi-faith service of commemoration in Derby Cathedral took place, with readings from the Bible and Qur'an. Readings from Qu'ran were recited by the Imam from Bosnian Community Ahmed ef. Gopo.

Last part of the ceremony took place at the QUAD. This was an evening of commemoration and celebration which included performances by communities that have found sanctuary and safety from persecution in Derby. The program opened by third lighting of the candle by Judy Sherwood and Isaac Pizer. The evening included the presentation of prizes to the winners of the school poster competition which was won by Sana Akram from Derby Bosnia and Herzegovina Supplementary School. Sara Akram, also from Derby Bosnia and Herzegovina Supplementary school, was presented with a special award for her effort too. "Bosnian Pearls" dance group represented Bosnia and Herzegovina Community with traditional dancing followed by three recitations read by Sara Akram, Sarah Gopo and Emina Hrncic and live performance on violin by Ursula Donnelly while the members of dance group, all dressed in traditional clothing, constructed the 11 petalled white flower of hope for Srebrenica. The whole of Bosnian Community's performance lasted for just over 12 minutes and was simultaneously accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation on Srebrenica Genocide.