More than 200 people gathered to light candles and pay tribute to the victims of the Holocaust during an annual memorial service.

Edgware United Synagogue in Parnell Close played host to the Yom Hashoah event yesterday.

Yom Hashoah was established by the Israeli government in 1951 as a day of remembrance for the Holocaust and its victims and is held after the festival of Passover on the 27th of the Jewish month of Nisan. 

Cellist Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, a survivor of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, lit the first of six candles – each one to symbolise a million people who died in the Holocaust. 

A surviving member of the Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz, Mrs Lasker-Wallfisch, 88, told the crowd how being a musician had saved her life.

She said: “I arrived in Auschwitz, fully prepared that this would be my last port of call. It transpired that there was an orchestra and I became the one and only cellist.

“The advantage of being a member of this absurd orchestra was that as long as the Germans wanted to have music, it would be somehow counterproductive to put us in the gas chamber. We were not easily replaceable.”

Synagogue member Hersch Kikoler had organised yesterday's programme following the death of his mother, who was 100-years-old.

During the event, he made a plea for donations to Yad Vashem names recovery project, which aims to document the names of all Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust.

He said: “The Holocaust has always been about numbers, but I also think about two other numbers, indelibly tattooed on my parent’s arms.

“But what if there is no one left to remember you? Almost two million Holocaust victims have no names, as if they were anonymous.  It is a moral imperative that we do not allow this state of affairs to exist.”

Rabbi David Lister said: “The evening has been a fitting tribute and memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.

"We hope that its traces will linger in our hearts and minds for a long time, to be handed on from one generation to the next as a way of keeping the memories and the lessons of the Holocaust alive as part of our Jewish mission to the world.”