Tagged: local

Henry and the Holocaust

Holocaust Memorial DayEvents to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps will be held in and around Suffolk this week.

There is an exhibition in the Waterfront building at University Campus Suffolk from 10am to 4pm on 26th, 27th and 28th January, with a time for reflection from noon until 1.15pm on Wednesday 27th January. Speakers will include councillors from Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk County Council.

Several years ago, our membership included someone who’d been liberated from the Theresienstadt Ghetto in 1945. Nearly 141,000 Jews were sent to the ghetto; only 17,247 survived. The rest died from disease or malnutrition, or were sent to the death camps.

I knew nothing about Henry’s history when he was a member of Suffolk Humanists, enjoying social events amongst friends. He never spoke about it, and most people took him for a typically English, mild-mannered gentleman.

Henry Green was the youngest of four children who were raised in a small Jewish community in Poland. They didn’t have much money but it was a close, loving family. His father was a pillar of the local community who taught his children his strong ethical values. Everything that Henry knew was destroyed by the Nazis.

More from the web

Cat in a box

I’ve been trying to declutter. Amongst other things, I’ve been adding more and more tabs to my browser, thinking, “Oh, I’ll include that in a news update on our site,” and it’s got to the stage where I really, really have to clear up all the clutter. So here you are.

If you remember that we were concerned about the possibility of Holywells High School in Ipswich being taken over by the Church of England, then things went very quiet, there’s been a development. The secretary of state for children, schools and families has approved the county’s plan to turn Holywells into an academy, with Kunskapsskolan, the largest provider of secondary education in Sweden, to be a “preferred partner”. Sounds interesting…

Community Network conference calls

Community NetworkOur committee “meets” over the phone. The group is widely scattered over a rural area, so having committee meetings face to face, when committee members are all busy people with family commitments, is often inconvenient. The prospect of having to drive long distances, especially in the winter, can put prospective committee members off volunteering. It’s not very environmentally-friendly to drive when you don’t have to, and petrol isn’t cheap.

For the past few years we’ve held most committee meetings by telephone conference call, arranged through Community Network, a charity based in London that provides tele-conferences for charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises.

Found, a new home!

PinewoodGood news! Thanks to the efforts of committee member John Palmer, who scouted the area, we’ve found a new venue for our meetings. From next month (our AGM) we’ll be at the Pinewood Community Hall (owned by the parish council) on Hawthorn Drive, Ipswich, not far from the A12/14 Copdock interchange and Tesco. The car park is in Laburnum Close at the rear, next to Pinewood Surgery. See the events calendar for a map.

Humanist funeral for young victim of reckless driver

Yesterday, our Celebrant David Mitchell conducted a Humanist funeral for Kate Wasyluk, one of the victims of Scott Nicholls, whose car struck Kate and her friends Emma (who was also killed) and Rebecca Harold, who were walking home from an evening out on 21 February. Nicholls has been charged with dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, and driving without a licence.

Nearly 300 mourners attended the funeral at Ipswich Crematorium, where David described the incident as “utterly pointless, utterly random, utterly wasteful”.

East Anglian sceptics

Cath Elliott has written a piece for the Guardian’s Comment is Free website about a Theos survey on faith and Darwin, which indicates that East Anglia is “full of atheists”.

So far from being the Sodom and Gomorrah that religious folk would no doubt have the godless east pegged as, according to the latest British Crime Survey (pdf), “The East of England region had the lowest rates of overall recorded crime and violence against the person and amongst the lowest rates of burglary and offences against vehicles.

Charles Darwin – the bi-cententary

The 12th February 2009 was the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. Our member Dan Clery has written his story:

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Charles-Darwin-31Charles Darwin, born on the 12th February 200 years ago, came up with what is probably the most important idea in the history of science. He reasoned that plants, animals and all living things are not static and unchanging, remaining as they were made by a divine creator; instead they change subtly from one generation to the next and those that are better suited to whatever environment they find themselves in prosper and reproduce more, while those that are less well suited don’t. In this way, plants and animals gradually change, eventually developing into new species and producing the huge variety of nature that we see today. Darwin’s theory, evolution by natural selection, is at the root of our understanding about life on Earth: it explains why there is such diversity in nature, why we are here, and why we are as we are.

Animal tales at Ipswich Museum

To celebrate Darwin’s birth, Ipswich Museum is offering “funny, exciting and thoughtful tales inspired by animals and Darwin’s discoveries” for children over half term – Tuesday 17th to Friday 20th February.

No prayers here

Durer prayer handsIn response to letters in today’s East Anglian Daily Times (File Attachment: EADT prayer letters.jpg (185 KB) about the nurse facing disciplinary action for praying for a patient, I’ve sent the following reply:

As an old age pensioner I’ve been around far too long to believe you can change the minds of the god deluded. The sheer implausibility of the supernatural can only be accepted by working it out for yourself, as recalled by the young David Attenborough, now in his eighties, who recently said, “I remember looking at my headmaster delivering a sermon, a classicist, extremely clever … and thinking, he can’t really believe all that, can he? How incredible.”