Six hundred people gathered at the memorial garden in Hendon Park on Sunday to commemorate the atrocities that took place during the Second World War.

Guest speakers at the ceremony, which marked National Holocaust week, included the Reverend Leslie Hardman, MBE. The former Hendon Synagogue minister was the first Jewish Army chaplain to enter Bergen Belsen Concentration camp on April 17, 1945, two days after it had fallen into British hands.

Dr Margaret Brearly of the Centre for Judaism and Jewish-Christian Relations, and honorary advisor on the Holocaust to the Archbishop's Council, also spoke.

Barnet's cabinet Member for community development, Councillor Peter Davis, said: "Holocaust Memorial Day reminds us of the depths of inhumanity to which mankind can sink and of the need to combat this sort of evil. It helps ensure future generations reflect on the horrors committed in the name of intolerance and prejudice."

The service saw performances by the London Cantorial Singers, the Holocaust Survivor Centre Band, Bell Lane Primary School Choir and a poetry recital by Whitefield School pupils.

On Monday, pupils at Finchley's Moss Hall Junior School paid tribute to children killed during the Holocaust by planting a memorial garden full of snowdrops. It was named the Bettine Snowdrop Garden after Holocaust survivor Bettine Le Beau from Finchley who escaped the camps in Spain and went on to have a career as an actress and author.

The garden, in Nether Street, is part of the Children of the Holocaust Memorial Project established by Barnet Council, which aims to plant enough snowdrops throughout the borough to represent the 1.5 million children murdered under the Nazi regime.

Together with Mayor of Barnet, Councillor Melvin Cohen, Bettine Le Beau officially opened the garden after talking to children at the school about her experiences in the camps.

Headteacher Neil Marlow said: "We feel it is important that pupils have an understanding of the Holocaust and of the atrocities that went on. Taking part in the Children of the Holocaust Memorial Project helps them to learn about this horrific time in history and, at the same time, pay tribute to those children that died. Having someone like Bettine coming to talk about her first-hand experiences brings home the tragedy in a very powerful way."

Children at Brunswick Park Primary School, Osidge Lane, Southgate, also planted snowdrops on Tuesday afternoon.