Tag Archives: holocaust memorial day

Holocaust Memorial Day matters more than ever

I must have been about four when my Grandma told me about the Holocaust, about the millions of Jewish people taken from their homes and families, starved and subjected to the most brutal treatment in concentration camps. The utter horror of the mass executions shocked me and helped spark in me a lifelong regard for human rights and commitment to making sure that nothing like that could ever happen again. Later on, I realised that Roma, gay people, trade unionists, disabled people and pretty much anyone else whose face didn’t fit were also persecuted.

My Grandma had lost her Dad, who had been on HMS Courageous, in the first fortnight of the War. She ended it in Germany, where my Grandad was a doctor with the forces and where my Dad was born in December 1945. The horrors of the Nazi atrocities were very real to her and she was keen to make sure that future generations understood the dangers and horrors.

It’s worrying that 1 in 20 UK adults, according to a poll reported by BBC News think that the holocaust didn’t take place and 1 in 8 think that it has been exaggerated.

In an article for the Guardian last November, Hope not Hate’s Joe Mulhall looked at how holocaust denial is changing as the alt-right rises. It’s belittled, mocked and joked about on social media.

For many young far-right activists the Holocaust is shorn of historical significance, diminished by time and absent from their collective consciousness, as it was not for previous generations throughout the postwar period. Far-right Holocaust denial is changing and if we are to be ready to fight back against those who seek to rewrite history for their own political ends, we have to understand how they are trying to do it.

So what can we do about it? As ever, support education about this grim moment in human history and stand up when we see people being targeted with prejudice and discrimination based on who they are. We can’t ever put up with anti-semitism, islamophobia, transphobia, misogyny, prejudice against immigrants, attacks on disabled people. All of these are increasingly prevalent in our society.

This video from the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust sums it up:

Senior Liberal Democrats have been marking Holocaust Memorial Day:

Posted in Op-eds | 8 Comments

Vince Cable’s message for Holocaust Memorial Day: Our words must build and encourage, not divide or destroy

Vince Cable has issued the following statement to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

Holocaust Memorial Day is an opportunity to honour the memories of the millions who lost their lives to Nazi persecution during one of the darkest and most horrific periods in human history. It was a time of unparalleled hate and inhumanity, the lessons from which we must never forget.

Sadly, the horrors of genocide did not end in 1945. Time after time since we have witnessed acts of shocking depravity and persecution across many parts of the world. We use today to remember the victims of these subsequent genocides too.

This

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Christine Jardine’s speech for Holocaust Memorial Day

Ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day tomorrow, here’s Christine Jardine’s speech from the Commons debate last week.

It is an honour to take part in this debate in remembrance of an event that, in its own way, challenges the power of words adequately to express the horror and sorrow of the holocaust.

Three years ago I visited the Yad Vashem memorial in Israel. As I was taken around that remarkable monument, the experience was at times emotional, as well as inspiring and thought-provoking throughout. It is a dark, oppressive space—a tunnel in a hillside—and as we travelled through it, guided as we were by a holocaust survivor, the personal testimonies we heard and the things we saw represented to me one of the bleakest periods in modern history—indeed, human history.

When our tour focused on the concentration camps, my mind was flooded with thoughts of the survivors I have been privileged to meet as we heard the testimonies of the suffering. I also thought about the young people I know who have visited what remains of the concentration camps across Europe, and about their reactions.

My daughter, who was born more than half a century after the war ended, visited because she felt she had to but, unlike other places of historical importance she has visited, it is something she rarely talks about. Like many, we took her as a child to Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam, and she was fascinated. When we came home she fell in love with the words of that youngster who lived her life hidden because it was the only life she was allowed. Hers were informative, moving words.

When my daughter has visited other memorials she has talked about them, but not when she came home from visiting Theresienstadt, which represented something more. She faced up to the fact that it was all real; that this was where so many stories, like that of the little girl living in a loft whose powerful words she had fallen in love with, had ended; and that if that horror were ever to return, many of the people she loved would meet the same fate. Perhaps it was a similar feeling that moved Andrew Dismore on his visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau, and we should thank that visit for enabling us to dedicate a day to holocaust remembrance, but how do we adequately remember an event when its sheer horror challenges everything we want to believe about humanity and ourselves? How?

Posted in News | Also tagged | 3 Comments

Stephen Lloyd on why Holocaust Memorial Day is so important

It’s not Holocaust Memorial Day until next week, but yesterday there was a debate in the Commons to mark the occasion. Here’s Stephen Lloyd’s contribution:

 

I thank the hon. Member for Brigg and Goole (Andrew Percy) for sponsoring the debate. It is a pleasure for me to co-sponsor it. This is the fifth or sixth time I have co-sponsored a debate on this important day. When I was first a Member of Parliament I was proud to do so, and now that I am back in the House, I am even more delighted.

Let me also congratulate the indomitable Karen Pollock, who is in the public Gallery and whom I have known for many years. Without her, I do not believe that this day, and the impact and reach that it has across the country, would be as strong. She really does deserve an enormous amount of credit.

The theme of Holocaust Memorial Day this year is the power of words. I was reminded of that when I read some words only earlier this morning from Anne Frank, that remarkable young girl who wrote so beautifully in Amsterdam all those years ago. She wrote:

“When I write I can shake off all my cares; my sorrow disappears; my spirits are revived.”

That is such a powerful set of words for such a dreadful time by a remarkable young woman.

That comment and the power of words brings me to my own constituent. Eastbourne does not have a large Jewish community; in fact, it is fairly minuscule—probably only 40 or 50. Like everyone else in the Chamber and many across the country, however, I am here because we know that what happened was so wicked—as was what has happened so many times since in the different genocides from Rwanda to Cambodia and the rest—that if we do not emphasise and talk about this day, there is the constant danger that it will happen again. Indeed, it is depressing that when I last spoke on this day in the House the Yazidis were perfectly safe in Iraq and Syria. Two years later they have almost been destroyed as a people. I therefore profoundly believe that the commemoration and remembrance on this day must never stop.

I have an extraordinary constituent in the small Jewish community in Eastbourne called Dorit Oliver-Wolff. She is a survivor, and she recently wrote an autobiography called “From Yellow Star to Pop Star.” She was born in Yugoslavia. When the Nazis invaded, she and her mother moved to Budapest when she was only five or six years old, and they somehow survived through the four or five years of the war from hand to mouth, travelling from place to place, creating new identities. It was when she was in Budapest that she first realised she was Jewish: she was only five years old and a woman spat at her in the street and called her “A stinking Jew”. Can anyone imagine anything more utterly incomprehensible than that to a five-year-old?

Posted in News | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Tim Farron’s statement for Holocaust Memorial Day: We must be bastions of hope in the tempest of fear”

Tim Farron has released the following statement for Holocaust Memorial Day:

In the last year, we have seen a rise in the politics of division that is reminiscent of an old and ugly Europe. In this environment, the Liberal Democrats will continue to champion a country that is open, tolerant and united.

This year we remember the survivors, who time and time again demonstrate both dignity and courage as they rebuild and restore their communities from the ruins. We also remember the divisive ideas and practices from the past- so that they may never be repeated ever again.

We must continue to be

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 3 Comments

Tim Farron’s message for Holocaust Memorial Day

From Facebook, here is Tim’s message for Holocaust Memorial Day:

My reflections on this year's Holocaust Memorial Day. This is a day for everyone to remember the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, and the millions of people killed by Nazi Persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur. The years theme of ‘Don’t Stand By’ highlights the choice we have in not tolerating unacceptable behaviour. It is vital that we remember and reflect upon these horrors of the past, and honour those who survived.

Posted by Tim Farron on Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Posted by Tim Farron on Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Posted in News | Also tagged | 3 Comments

Holocaust Memorial Day, and a response to David Ward

I find Holocaust Memorial Day personally incredibly difficult. It reminds us of an astonishing period in human history, when a developed European country exterminated millions of fellow humans – six million Jews, and many Roma, Slavs, Communists, Socialists, homosexuals and the disabled.

But for me it always reminds me of my own family tree, and the many relatives who appear there with a small asterisk – ‘died as a result of Nazism’. I find it hard to speak about, to think through the horrors of what happened. But I do find myself absolutely adamant that we must stop anything like …

Posted in News | 32 Comments

The Independent View: Holocaust Memorial Day

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day and the national event in London will bring together survivors from the Holocaust and subsequent genocides, politicians, religious leaders and dignitaries.  In addition hundreds of local events will be held across the UK giving everyone the opportunity to get involved in some way.

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust took over responsibility for delivering HMD from the Home Office in 2005 and six years on our aims remain the same as they did then – to ensure that we remember the victims and honour the survivors of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution and those from subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and during the ongoing atrocities in Darfur.

This year’s theme

This year’s theme for HMD is Untold Stories and builds on the success of HMD 2010 which focused on The Legacy of Hope. In 2010 tens of thousands of people signed up and pledged to become part of this ‘legacy’, ensuring that the experiences of Holocaust and genocide survivors were never forgotten, and that we can all learn from the lessons of the past.

The Untold Stories theme ensures that these pledges become a reality. This year we have focused on listening to stories of suffering, persecution, but also hope.  Importantly we heard many stories that have never been told before. Already we’ve lost millions of stories through acts of hatred and this year’s theme sends out a clear message that we cannot allow this to continue. Just some of the Untold Stories that we’ve heard can be seen in our film:

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | 2 Comments

The Independent View: Holocaust Memorial Day 2010

Carly Whyborn is Chief Executive Officer, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust

On the 27th of January hundreds of events across the country will commemorate the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration camp. Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) remembers the victims and honours the survivors of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution and those affected by subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. Sixty-five years on it is clear that the myriad of lessons and hopes for the future have not freed the world from hatred and atrocity. This new decade offers us a new challenge …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged | 2 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJohn King 19th Aug - 9:39pm
    The Lib Dems owe their resurgence to the simple clear message: Stop Brexit. Do you want to be like Jeremy Corbyn who shies away from...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 19th Aug - 9:20pm
    Donald Trump has confirmed that he wants to buy Greenland. In his view he may be trying to make comparisons with some of the great...
  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 19th Aug - 9:16pm
    Peter Watson is right. As Henry Ford famously said, his customers could have their Model T in any colour they liked “as long as it...
  • User AvatarTCO 19th Aug - 8:59pm
    @Andy - you're making the mistake of viewing Labour as a "progressive" party (whatever that means - usually it means "Labour-dominated" when appended to the...
  • User AvatarDavid Garlick 19th Aug - 8:58pm
    The problem is that some, most, MP's cant see further than the end of their nose, or their deselection, or electoral loss. It is understandable...
  • User AvatarMartin 19th Aug - 8:46pm
    One point I would make to Mack is I don't know how old you are but I am old enough to remember real shortages in...
Sat 24th Aug 2019
Thu 29th Aug 2019
Mon 9th Sep 2019