VICTIMS of the Holocaust and other subsequent genocides were remembered at a poignant ceremony to mark 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.

The emotive stories of those who stood up to Nazi tyranny in spite of the risks to themselves were told as part of the borough's commemorations, which also marked 25 years since the end of the genocide in Bosnia.

These stories included that of Master Sergeant Roddie Edmond, an American soldier who risked his life and saved 200 Jewish prisoners of war; Maximillian Kolbe, a Catholic saint who willingly took another’s place in a starvation bunker and who ultimately lost his life through lethal injection; and Abraham Pawloski, a survivor of the Holocaust who lived due to the support of a German soldier who fed him and kept him alive throughout the Second World War.

The theme of this year's Holocaust Memorial Day was "Stand Together" and the ceremony called for reflection on how we can all help to prevent terrible atrocities from happening in the future.

Civic dignitaries, council representatives and children from a number of local primary schools attended the Longfield Suite in Prestwich for the event on Monday.

The Mayor of Bury, Cllr Trevor Holt, said: “Every year it is important to remember those that were lost during the Holocaust and other genocides, but this event highlighted something just as significant; the power that each one of us have to stand-up against hate and bigotry. I hope that everyone who attended will take away this powerful message and continue to ensure Bury is a place where people from all walks of life feel safe and secure.”

Members from a number of faith groups and Elinor Chohan, chairwoman of Remembering Srebrenica North West Board, provided personal reflections. The Whitefield Shul Choir sang and musical pieces were performed by Bury Music Service.

Primary school pupils across Bury participated in lessons about the Holocaust in the lead-up to the event and created hundreds of butterflies to remember the children lost in the tragedy.

Council leader Cllr David Jones signed the Statement of Commitment, based on the principles of the 2000 Stockholm declaration, which outlines the need to remember the Holocaust, make future generations aware of it, to recognise the sacrifice of those that risked their lives to save others, and to pledge to promote education and research about the Holocaust and other genocides.

The High Sheriff of Greater Manchester, Mark Isaac, spoke about the need for education, saying “we must understand differences, learn to appreciate and enjoy them, and then learn to grow from them”.