Speaker introduces Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration
The Speaker has offered the House of Commons a ‘pause for thought’ in a special commemoration for Holocaust Memorial Day.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle held a short socially-distanced ceremony marking the event in Parliament for the first time.
The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust has chosen the theme: "be the light in the darkness", stating that "It encourages everyone to reflect on the depths humanity can sink to, but also the ways individuals and communities resisted that darkness to ‘be the light’ before, during and after genocide."
There was a reading and the lighting of a candle in Portcullis House, with colleagues urged to ‘stand together, especially with those who are suffering’.
‘As we commemorate 76 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau - the largest Nazi concentration and death camp - we remember the millions of people whose lives were lost, and families torn apart by hatred,’ the Speaker said.
‘If the last nine months of Covid have taught us anything, it is how interconnected we are, and how we achieve far more together than apart.
‘Now, more than ever, we need to ‘be the light in the darkness’ – to take a moment to call out and counter messages of hate, exclusion and intolerance, and instead work together to create a better, safer and happier future.’
To support the ‘National Moment’ the House of Commons will be among iconic buildings including the London Eye and Wembley Stadium to be lit up in purple on 27 January.
The Speaker said he hoped the candle-lighting ceremony in Portcullis House would be a new tradition that could help MPs and staff recognise the experiences of colleagues, friends and constituents past and present.
‘After all, Parliament is a diverse community, serving a diverse nation,’ he said.
‘Survivors of the Holocaust are our friends and our family. They live among us, and it is thanks to their brave testimony - often to schools, colleges, and also to each of us individually - that we learn the lessons of the past; that genocide is a steady process that begins if discrimination, racism and hatred are not checked or prevented.’