On Sunday 26th January, the Barnwood Community Garden worked in partnership with the Somali Bravanese Community to plant native hedges and hold a candle-lighting ceremony for Holocaust Memorial Day.

This local Holocaust Memorial is a tangible reminder of how distrust of other groups can lead to hate and genocide when divisions become worsened through lack of communication and integration. The planting day serves as a beacon for communities to push aside their differences and work side by side to plant together, by overcoming fear and prejudice.

The Somali Bravanese Community have been deeply affected by hate crime as their centre was burned to the ground by a suspected right-wing arsonist.  This garden site is adjacent to their new community centre, and the plants and trees planted on Holocaust Memorial Day create positive symbols of an integrated community space that is actively working with people of all faiths and none to nurture a growing and dynamic neighbourhood.

The garden will also bring together children and the elderly from AgeUK to create a strong link across generations.  By planting together, the community is spreading long-term roots of trust and hope in their neighbourhood despite all the challenges faced by oppressed groups and peoples.

Rabbi Natan Levy: “I’ve come today to  plant trees with a community that had its nearby centre burnt down because of hatred. The Holocaust marks a pinnacle point in our history that should never be repeated. Regardless of religion, colour and belief, we should all take inspiration from each other to unite and stamp out acts of exclusion and discrimination. As a Rabbi I think this event will be vital to bring local faith groups and communities together to honour the victims of the Holocaust by taking part in something productive and good for the environment. I urge people to recognise that when hatred, intolerance and xenophobia are left unchallenged – there are detrimental effects. The 75th anniversary of the Holocaust reminds us of the consequences of standing by and allowing hatred to fester. We are planting today, to bring hope to all our children’s tomorrows”.