A CROWD gathered at the town centre Cenotaph yesterday to remember the victims of the Holocaust.

Silence fell at midday as dozens of people, including mayor Mick Bray and council leader Rod Bluh, gathered to mark national Holocaust Memorial Day.

The service was led by Swindon Literature Festival organiser Matt Holland before Coun Bray paid his tributes and laid a wreath.

The annual day of remembrance, which started in 2001, marks the date when Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated in 1945, with the theme for this year’s event being ‘Communities Together: Build a Bridge’.

Schools across Swindon will be marking the day this week, which encourages people to remember numerous other human rights tragedies around the world, including persecution and wars, past and present, and aims to help raise awareness among young people.

There was a 20-minute wreath-laying ceremony followed by a gathering for readings and reflection at the Friends Meeting House, in Eastcott Hill.

Coun Bluh said he found the day especially poignant as his family, including his father, were affected by the Holocaust.

He said: “When people succeed in driving a wedge between communities, the lessons from history are all too apparent.

“We must not forget those lessons, and it is why Holocaust Memorial Day is so important.

“I am encouraged to see so many members of the community here, it is something that should not be forgotten.

“I have been doing my own research and found out more information in the last day than I ever have done before which is encouraging.”