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Washington pupils commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day with Foundation Stones to share with the community

To commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day, students at Washington Academy have been painting and decorating Foundation Stones which they will place throughout the community as a mark of remembrance.

By Neil Fatkin
Thursday, 27th January 2022, 4:55 am

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Foundation Stones are inspired by the Jewish custom of placing a pebble on headstones when visiting a grave to show the person is remembered.

The stones symbolise a promise to remember the past and honour the six million Jewish men, women, and children murdered in the Holocaust along with the other victims of atrocities carried out by the Nazi regime.

Derek Austwick, headteacher at Washington Academy, said: “It is vital for our students to learn about the Holocaust and remember the atrocities that occurred. It is only by remembering these tragic events that we can ensure they never happen again.”

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Pupils have marked the Foundation Stones with the hashtag #WAHMD22 to encourage anyone within the Washington community who sees the stones to engage with Holocaust Memorial Day via social media.

Anyone finding a stone is encouraged to take a photo and upload it to their social media account, using the hashtag and engaging with the Academy’s own Twitter account which can be found at @WSPost.

Mr Austwick added: “Our students wanted to share their commemoration with our local community, so we can remember what took place over seventy years ago – something that is still so recent when we think about the context of history.

The hashtags on the Foundation Stones which will help people who find the stones to promote the significance Holocaust Memorial Day.

"So we’d love for the community to share their photos of the Foundation Stones, wherever and whenever they find them to show that the people of Washington will never forget what happened.”

A selection of the pupils’ stones will also be sent to the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre in London to be part of its Foundation Stones exhibition.

Holocaust Memorial Day takes place each year on January 27 to remember those who died and to show a united front against all prejudice.

An example of one of the Foundation Stones created by pupils at Washington Academy

As a symbol of remembrance for all those who perished, and solidarity against genocide and political persecution, at 8pm households across the UK will be asked to light candles and place them by their windows.

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