Speaking at the service, which was held at the Occupation Tapestry Museum to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, the Bailiff, Sir Philip Bailhache, said that people ‘should not turn away in embarrassment or disinterest’ but should stand up to evil and wrong.
He said that racist attacks happened in Jersey and that Islanders should be prepared to do something about them.
‘One of the purposes of Holocaust Memorial Day is to teach and encourage people, young people in particular, to develop and to value moral courage,’ he said.
‘We are not likely to have to face the appalling dilemmas which people faced 65 years ago.
We are not likely to witness Jews, gypsies or gay people being rounded up and sent to concentration camps.
But these large crimes had small beginnings.
‘I am afraid that racist attacks are not unknown in Jersey.
What do we do, what do you do, if you hear racist remarks or see bullying behaviour in school or in the workplace? ‘If marking Holocaust Memorial Day can persuade five people in a thousand – or better still, ten – to confront these things and not to turn away in embarrassment or disinterest, then it will have done something to honour the memory of the victims of the Holocaust.
‘Let us hope and pray that we may find in our own lives the moral courage which each of them displayed.’ The Dean of Jersey, the Very Rev Bob Key, also spoke of the importance of acting as an individual in ‘the fight against evil’.
He said that the Holocaust did not happen because extraordinary people were living in extraordinary times.
‘They were ordinary people in ordinary times.
They had simply taken a series of steps in the wrong direction,’ he said.
‘Whatever your background, religion or age, it is good and right to remember.
The more we remember, the more chance we have of keeping that evil at bay.
If you are not part of the solution, you are a step nearer being part of the problem.
God grant us the grace to be always the right side of that line.’ Readings were performed by the Jersey Arts Centre youtheatre and a minute’s silence was observed while the names of those who lost their lives during the Holocaust were read out beside the Lighthouse Memorial.
Wreaths were then laid on behalf of Islanders, families of the victims, the Island’s Jewish congregation, families of forced workers, the Royal British Legion, the Ex-Internees Association, the parish of St Helier and the Island’s French and Polish communities.
‘I come to this service every year because I think it is right that people should be remembered,’ said Bob Le Sueur, who laid one of the wreaths.