Today is Holocaust Memorial Day, a day when our union – and the whole world – remembers the millions of victims who were systematically murdered during the Holocaust.
It’s when we mark our respect for those who experienced and survived the horrific atrocities committed during this and subsequent genocides.
Our horror at the numbers who died cannot allow them to become a statistic – nor should the passing of time dim the world’s outrage or remembrance. We recognise these appalling events as reminders of the dangers of allowing hate, discrimination and division to develop and go unchallenged.
This morning I attended events at the British Library and the UNISON Centre alongside Lord Alf Dubs. Alf was one of the Kindertransport children, rescued from Nazi persecution by Nicholas Winton in the 1930s. At a time when refugees are turned away from safe havens, his campaigning for child refugees and his own story have rarely been more important.
Our union views Holocaust Memorial Day as an opportunity to reflect on the lessons of history. The theme of this year’s Day is ‘how can life go on?’ – and when faced with such terrible suffering that is a hugely important question.
The answer is that humanity, solidarity and remembrance are all part of that ongoing and never ending process – which is why we also remember the victims of subsequent genocides including Srebrenica and Rwanda.
The senseless targeting of specific groups shows that many have failed to learn the lessons of history. And so it is essential that, at a time when hostility towards refugees fleeing persecution and war is widespread, and intolerance and racism is on the rise, we remember the Holocaust and other genocides.
We must all pledge to continue our work to challenge intolerance and prejudice wherever it is found, and affirm the indelible power of solidarity, love and compassion.
On this day we remember the precious lives lost and the deep grief felt by those who survived. We honour their memory by challenging anti-Semitism and hate, by remembering the victims of all genocides, and by working to ensure ‘Never Again.’