SCHOOL pupils from Cumnock and Doon Valley helped to ‘keep the memory alive’ of the Holocaust as they lit candles to remember genocide victims.

Local youngsters attended a special event at East Ayrshire Council where they held a minutes silence to remember the atrocities of more than 70 years ago.

Pupils from schools across Doon and Cumnock, Kilmarnock Academy, Park School, St Joseph’s, Grange Academies remembered all those who lost their lives during the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Darfur and Bosnia.

It comes as this year marks the 30th anniversary of the genocide in Bosnia.

Some pupils who had visited Auschwitz gave powerful insights into their experience as part of well-research presentations on what they had learned.

Councillor Clare Maitland, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Equalities, Inclusion and Poverty, said: “Holocaust Memorial Day is a time when we seek to learn the lessons of the past and recognise that genocide does not just take place on its own: it’s a steady process which can begin if discrimination, racism and hatred are not checked and prevented.

“Sadly, in some parts of the world, genocide continues and we can’t let this happen. We all have a responsibility to do what we can in our everyday lives, in the way we speak, treat people and in the example we set to others, to create a safer, fairer future for everyone.

“Holocaust Memorial Day gives us an opportunity to examine history, some of it very recent indeed, learn from it, recognise what needs to change and move forward in a positive way.

“Based on the well-researched presentations and thoughts from our school pupils, it’s reassuring to know that young people are still learning lessons from the Holocaust and that they’re able to share their experiences with others.”