Speaking at a ceremony to mark Holocaust Memorial Day at the Holocaust Memorial Tree and the Soviet War Memorial in Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park in Southwark, and commenting on his appointment to the Prime Minister’s Holocaust Memorial Commission, Simon Hughes, Member of Parliament for Bermondsey and Old Southwark and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said:
‘Those who were forced to make unwanted journeys in World War II because they were at risk for their lives, lived through traumas that the majority of the rest of us in Europe can barely imagine. Tragically the history of human kind has all too frequent occasions when people have been chased and persecuted and killed simply for who they are, and not for anything they have done.
Those of us who have been privileged to hear the stories of Holocaust survivors will never forget what we have been told. But government and Parliament, and every school in the land, has a duty to make sure that we both commemorate the terrible events of the Holocaust over seventy years ago, and that we remember the more recent examples of genocide which have killed so many and stained our world.
In Southwark as in so many other places across the UK, we pay our tributes today but tomorrow and every other day the task of educating for peace, mutual respect and a diverse world must go on with courage and determination.’
The Holocaust Memorial Commission was set up by the Prime Minister and includes cross-party representation from Ed Balls, Michael Gove and Simon Hughes, and broadcaster Natasha Kaplinsky, educator Dame Helen Hyde, Arts Council Chair Sir Peter Bazalgette and, from the world of business, Leo Noe and Ruby McGregor-Smith.The Commission will investigate what more needs to be done to ensure Britain has a permanent and fitting memorial and the educational resources needed for generations to come.
The commission will report its findings to the Prime Minister by the end of the year.
Holocaust Memorial Day is commemorated across the world on 27 January and is promoted by the government-funded Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.
- More information about the Holocaust Memorial Commission can be found on the Downing Street website https://www.gov.uk/government/news/prime-minister-launches-holocaust-commission
- You can find out more about the Holocaust Memorial Day at journeys.hmd.org.uk.
- If you want to help promote the day please tweet about it using #hmd2014.