Holocaust Memorial Day is a time for everyone to come together and say never again. Never again to an anti-semitic and racist ideology that systematically targeted and murdered six million Jews. Never again should anyone be forced to suffer and die like those murdered by Nazi Persecution or in subsequent genocides.
Amongst those targeted and killed were Jews, Roma Gypsies and Slavs. They were Black, LGBT and disabled. They were trade unionists and political opponents of Nazism.
All of them torn from home, never to return. Leaving behind families, friends, communities, jobs and lives.
“Torn from home” is the theme of this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day, and it’s a fitting one. It reminds us of that those killed in the holocaust can never be reduced to a mere statistic.
Every person killed had a home, a place from which they were taken. It helps to convey some small fragment of the incredible loss which each person represents. And it conveys some of the horror of places like Auschwitz, where the piles of shoes and glasses representing individual lives lost leaves an indelible mark on all those who see them.
This day we remember all those targeted during the holocaust – and mark our respect for those who experienced and survived the horrific atrocities committed during this and subsequent genocides.
On this day, we remember the precious lives lost and the deep grief felt by those who survived. We honour their memories. We challenge hate. And we remember, as we sit in our homes, with our families and friends, in our communities, the overwhelming loss that the holocaust represents.
And we say never again.