Thurrock Council will commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day on Wednesday 27 January with online tributes from school children, councillors and the Thurrock community.
A special pre-recorded video will be shared on the council's social media channels to enable Thurrock to come together virtually and pay respects to those who suffered in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides.
Cllr Deb Huelin, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: "On Wednesday 27 January, we will mark Holocaust Memorial Day on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau to remember the victims of the Holocaust and further genocides, including the Jewish people and millions of others targeted due to their faith, gender, culture, ability, and sexual orientation.
"This year's Holocaust Memorial Day theme is 'Be the light in the dark' which encourages us to reflect on the depths that humanity can sink to, but also how individuals and communities have resisted this darkness to be 'the light' before, during and after genocide. I encourage you to light a candle at 8pm on Wednesday 27 January in remembrance of all those who have died through acts of genocide."
Pupils at Woodside Academy, Belmont Castle Academy and St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School will read poems and presentations alongside tributes from Cllr Deb Huelin, Mayor of Thurrock Cllr Terry Piccolo, Cllr Qaisar Abbas and Reverend Canon Darren Barlow.
Ashley Fernon, Year 6 teacher and member of the Extended Leadership Team at Belmont Castle Academy, said: "It has been a privilege for us all at Belmont Castle Academy to be able to play a part in this year's video for Holocaust Memorial Day. As a school, it has provided opportunities to explore key issues such as empathy, sacrifice, resilience and learn about key events in history which changed the world. We are truly humbled."
Ed Caines, principal of Woodside Academy, said: "At a time when people are denying evident truths every day it is more important than ever that we share the truth with the next generation, however horrific it may be. Then we, as a people, can learn from it and go forward without repeating the mistakes of the past."
Mary Ward, head teacher of St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School, said: "We have been involved in commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day for a number of years at St Thomas's. This event is always publicised in our weekly News Bulletin and mentioned in our school assemblies. Our hope is that our children will learn and remember never to treat people in a discriminatory way based on their colour, religion, sexuality or ability."
Watch Thurrock's Holocaust Memorial Day 2021 video below.