Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Holocaust Memorial Day: - a story of hope and infamy which must never be forgotten

Seventy one years ago today, the Soviet army liberated the last 7,000 survivors who were still present at Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp. Tragically the SS guards had sent most of the prisoners to march West a few days before on what amounted to a death march: of about 60,000 prisoners sent on those marches more than 15,000 died.

The world was horrified at what was found at Auschwitz and other camps and responded as one "never again."

Although the genocide organised by Nazi Germany was one of the largest and worst in history it was, tragically, far from being the only such event and there have indeed been others since.

Nevertheless if we commemorate and remember such events, and those who stood against them, we have more chance of making that cry of "never again" reflect reality.

And in remembering the inhumanity of the Nazis we should also remember the heroism of those like Sir Nicholas Winton who risked and sometimes lost their lives rescuing people from the Nazis, and those who somehow managed to keep hope alive in the most extraordinarily difficult circumstances.

Here is a piece by the director of the Holocaust Memorial Trust on the heroism of Sir Nicholas Winton, who died last year at the age of 106.

The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day this year is "Don't Stand By" and that should be a lesson to all of us.

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