A Holocaust survivor shared his experiences with the public as part of a special remembrance service in the Eastgate Centre.
Leslie Kleinman, a survivor of Auschwitz and two death marches to Oranienburg and Dachau who was liberated by American soldiers in 1944, gave a moving talk to the crowd before hosting a question and answer session.
The event marked Holocaust Memorial Day and featured an introduction by Jack De Metz from the Southend and Westcliff Hebrew Congregation and live performances from the Basildon, Rayleigh and Brentwood Big Sing Choir alongside pupils from St Anne Line School.
Holocaust Memorial Day is commemorated internationally to mark the date of the liberation of Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. The theme for 2019, Torn From Home, encourages people to reflect on the trauma faced by anyone experiencing persecution and genocide.
Mayor of Basildon, Cllr David Dadds JP said: “Holocaust Memorial Day is a chance for us to remember the millions of people murdered under Nazi persecution and to think about the survivors whose lives were changed beyond recognition as a result.
“It’s important that we take this opportunity to learn more about the past and take action to create a safer future for all free from hatred, discrimination and exclusion.
“I commend Leslie for finding the strength to talk about his horrific experiences and the pain of being driven away from his home. I would like to thank everyone who took time out of their day to join us in sending out a clear message in support of diversity, equality and inclusivity.”