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On Holocaust Memorial Day, the importance of reflection cannot be underestimated

3 min read

On the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Stephen Morgan MP writes that education and remembrance are the only cures for hatred and bigotry.

From D-Day 75 to the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, as we embark on 2020 we reach the 75th anniversary for a litany of significant events. Now more than ever is a time for reflection.

The importance of reflection cannot be underestimated. Education and remembrance are the only cures for hatred and bigotry and at a time when hate crime is at an all-time high with around 300 police recorded incidents per day, we need to look at the past for lessons on how to build the future.

The immeasurable tragedy of the holocaust has darkened lives on an infinite scale. We owe it to those murdered along with survivors and liberators to make a stand and stop future atrocities.

The importance of reflection and remembrance transcend commemoration. Reflection and remembrance are also tools we must use to prevent further human destruction. The holocaust was not the last genocide. Therefore, we still have work to do.

The loss of human life at the hands of others from Cambodia to Bosnia, Darfur to Rwanda are testament to the fact we must all do more to educate on the perils of prejudice.

The harrowing story of 6 million Jews and millions from other communities and faiths including Roma, homosexual, black and disabled people being murdered must be told. We must learn from the events of yesterday if we are to forge a tomorrow free from terror and atrocity.

There are steps that we can take in our communities that pave the way for peace. Hatred and prejudice of any kind create a breeding ground for violence and present severe dangers to our society. It is up to us to drum it out wherever we encounter it. It cannot be tolerated.

In closing parliament’s debate on Holocaust Memorial Day, I had the privilege of hearing harrowing, heartfelt stories from colleagues across the house. Some personal accounts while others relaying experiences of family members and loved ones. In the midst of a country more divided than ever and in a place that often attracts media attention for its adversarial nature, the mutual respect among MPs when debating was poignant.

If we are to progress in achieving peaceful, welcoming societies it will be through putting aside our differences and focusing on what unites us. Key to that is reflecting upon past events and learning from history. Holocaust Memorial Day is a vital part of that process and I pay tribute to all those whose lives were touched by the darkness of the events that unfolded 75 years ago. It is up to us to now honour their memory and suffering by working against hatred and prejudice.

Stephen Morgan is Labour MP for Portsmouth South. 

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