He knows all too well the terrible and repeated cost of man’s inhumanity to man.
And today people in Leeds were given a compelling insight into the experiences of Rwandan genocide survivor Appolinaire Kageruka.
A video telling the story of Mr Kageruka – who was forced to flee his home at the age of 24 – was played at a civic event held at Leeds Town Hall this afternoon to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
Hosted by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Coun Graham Latty, the event also included a performance by Playhouse Youth that explored themes of displacement, family and loss.
Music came from the Kolot Hazichoron – Voices of Hope choir, with readings and the lighting of candles also taking place.
The afternoon closed with the singing of a traditional Hebrew memorial prayer by the president of Bradford Synagogue, Rudi Leavor. Coun Latty said: “This has been a solemn and moving occasion which has seen the city come together to remember the millions of Jewish people who lost their lives, and to celebrate diversity, inclusion and togetherness.
“Holocaust Memorial Day is a time to reflect on the many lessons history can teach us as we also look ahead and consider how we can use those lessons to help make the world of the future a better and more compassionate place for everyone.
“This year’s Holocaust Memorial Day theme of Torn From Home and the stories and experiences of Mr Kageruka are also a timely reminder of the importance of everyone having a place they can call home.”
Holocaust Memorial Day is held each year on January 27 to remember the millions of people murdered during the Holocaust and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.
Leeds’s commemorations continue on Monday, January 28, when the Seven Arts centre in Chapel Allerton stages a screening of the film Hotel Rwanda, starting at 7.30pm.