Yesterday in Parliament, Robin Walker, MP for Worcester signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment, and in doing so pledging his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day. Robin has signed the book of commitment each year during his time as Worcester’s MP and has encouraged local schools to get involved in commemorating the Holocaust.
Wednesday 27th January will mark the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history. Holocaust Memorial Day honours those who died during the Holocaust as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people.
In the weeks leading up to and after Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events will be arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. Robin has written to schools in Worcester and encouraged them to facilitate workshops and lessons on raising awareness of the Holocaust. He has himself visited Dachau and Theresienstadt concentration camps and found the experience intensely moving.
After signing the Book of Commitment Robin commented:
“Holocaust Memorial Day marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau and is an important opportunity to remember the victims and survivors of the Holocaust and make sure they are never forgotten. As an historian by background I know how vital it is that we learn the lessons of history and make sure that future generations do not stand by and allow such appalling atrocities to take place.”
“I have supported this initiative in each year of my time as MP for Worcester and I encourage all constituents to mark the day and to join members of our community in the fight against prejudice and intolerance. I am particularly pleased that local schools often use the opportunity of Holocaust Memorial Day to teach students about the extraordinary stories of human brutality, resistance and survival that still exist today. The generation that experienced these horrors will not be with us for much longer and it is vital that we do all we can to record their testimony whilst they are.”
Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said:
“We are proud that Robin is supporting Holocaust Memorial Day. As we mark the 71st anniversary of the end of the Holocaust it is vitally important that we both continue to remember and learn from the appalling events of the Holocaust, as well as ensuring that we continue to challenge anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry.”
Notes to Editors:
For further information on the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET), please contact Samantha Abrahams, Head of Public Affairs, on Samantha.firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7222 6822.
HET’s website is: http://hmd.org.uk/
For Robin’s previous releases from 2015 and 2014 on Holocaust Memorial Day:
Holocaust Memorial Day was established following an MP’s visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau with the Holocaust Educational Trust. Moved by his visit, Andrew Dismore MP proposed a bill, “to introduce a day to learn and remember the Holocaust” on 30 June 1999. The Holocaust Educational Trust has been closely involved in the establishment and development of Holocaust Memorial Day since its inception in 2000. Holocaust Memorial Day is now coordinated by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.
The Holocaust Educational Trust was founded in 1988 during the passage of the War Crimes Act. Our aim is to raise awareness and understanding in schools and amongst the wider public of the Holocaust and its relevance today. We believe that the Holocaust must have a permanent place in our nation’s collective memory.
One of the Trust’s earliest achievements was to ensure that the Holocaust was included in the National Curriculum for England in 1991 – for Key Stage 3 students (11-14 year olds). The Holocaust has remained on the National Curriculum since then. We also successfully campaigned to have the assets of Holocaust victims and survivors released and returned to their rightful owners in the late 1990s.
Since 1999 the Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz Project has given thousands of post-16 students and teachers the opportunity to visit the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau as part of a four-part educational programme. Since 2006 the Project has received Government funding. Having played a crucial role in the establishment of Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK in 2001, the Trust continues to play a key role in the delivery of this national commemorative day. In 2010 the Government issued a new award to recognise the British men and women who came to the aid of Jewish people and other persecuted groups during the Holocaust – as a direct result of an initiative by the Trust to raise their profile and secure formal recognition for them.
At the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Appeal Dinner in September 2013, the Prime Minister announced the establishment of a national Holocaust Commission to establish what further measures should be taken to ensure a lasting memorial to the Holocaust in this country. In January 2015, the Prime Minister, with cross-party support, endorsed the recommendations of the Commission, which will include a striking new national memorial and accompanying learning centre by 2020.