January 31, 2007

Peace garden vandalised as borough marks Holocaust Memorial Day

A memorial garden to remember victims of oppression, torture and brutality was defaced as the country marked Holocaust Memorial Day.

Borough dignitaries expressed dismay and disgust after learning the peace and memorial garden near Dagenham Civic Centre had been sprayed with graffiti. Deputy Mayor Cllr Marie West, who opened the garden last year when she was Mayor, said: "I'm so distressed that anyone could even contemplate doing such a thing. I can't understand the mentality. I'm very upset."

The graffiti was discovered on Monday, the day after Dagenham Civic Centre and Barking Town Hall flew special world holocaust memorial flags to remember Jewish people killed during World War Two.

The borough had marked Holocaust Memorial Day (Saturday) by burning a ceremonial candle at the civic centre on Friday.

Mayor Cllr Dee Hunt was told about the vandalism as she prepared to unveil an adventure playground in Goresbrook Park recently defaced by graffiti. She called it "verbal abuse". The garden, with its coloured benches and purple posts, aims to convey the transition from persecution to hope.

Rabbi Alex Chapper, of Ilford Federation Synagogue, said: "This is another sickening example of the continuing need to educate the importance of tolerance and respect, regardless of race or creed.

Barking and Dagenham Recorder

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