One of the most solemn events of the parliamentary year is when the Holocaust Educational Trust visit Westminster and invite MPs to sign the Book of Commitment. When signing the book earlier this week, I pledged my support for Holocaust Memorial Day, in honour of those who were murdered during this atrocity, and paid tribute to Holocaust survivors who continue to work to educate young people today.
Holocaust Memorial Day falls on 27th January, marking the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.
In June 1999, the then-Hendon MP Andrew Dismore proposed a bill ‘to introduce a day to learn and remember the Holocaust’ after being moved to act following a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau with the Holocaust Educational Trust.
The Holocaust Educational Trust has been closely involved in the establishment and development of Holocaust Memorial Day since its inception in 2000. The theme for the UK Holocaust Memorial Day 2018 is ‘The power of words’.
At an event at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office earlier this week, the Foreign Secretary, the Housing & Communities Secretary, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Chief Rabbi and the Israeli Ambassador gathered to honour heroic men and women with the British Heroes of the Holocaust medal.
The award, whose previous recipients include Sir Nicholas Winton, recognises Britons who undertook extraordinary acts of courage and self-sacrifice, in order to help Jewish people and others. This year, eight recipients received this accolade in honour of their willingness to stand up to hate.
The actions of the Holocaust Educational Trust deserve the support of us all. Anyone involved in public life must work to stamp out anti-Semitism from our society.
Henry Smith MP