Holocaust Memorial Day – Remembering the Past, Looking to the Future

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Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on January 27th because it was on this day in 1945 that Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated by Allied forces.

I’ve always thought the Holocaust should be looked upon as a tragedy for all of humanity – something we all have a moral duty to reflect upon and to learn lessons from.  The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust shares this view and presents the day as an opportunity to remember all genocides.

When working at the Imperial War Museum I often spend a lot of time sitting at a desk not doing much. We are allowed to read through the museum’s bountiful stock of history books and one I looked at recently was ‘Forgotten Voices of the Holocaust’.

In a book full of harrowing accounts, perhaps the most disturbing statement came from a British Army doctor who was working with his medical team to provide aid to Jewish victims suffering from typhus at a recently liberated camp. He recalled a British nurse complaining to him in the camp: “I don’t know what I’m doing here. I came over here to help our brave boys, not these scum”.

At UCL someone has drawn a massive swastika on the wall of one of the toilets. The cleaners have done a pretty good job of wiping it away, but the faded outlines are still visible. You could see this as fittingly symbolic of society’s efforts to eradicate race hatred.

There is of course a present-day leader of a British political party who has described the Nazi effort to exterminate all those they considered undesirable and subhuman as the “Holohoax”. In a year when the British National Party has a good chance of winning a seat in the upcoming European elections, one practical way of commemorating the Holocaust would surely be to redouble our efforts to defeat today’s fascist threat.

Captain Jako

p.s Almost immediately after I wrote this post the good folk at Searchlight sent out an email asking for signatures for their latest petition campaign. They are demanding that Nick Griffin publicly apologise for his statements on the Holocaust and fully renounce his Holocaust-denying views. Pigs will fly before this happens, but it is a good way of spreading awareness of how mad the BNP leader is.

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