Just got back from the Holocaust Memorial Day. This year’s theme is ‘stand up to hatred’. As ever – there were a number of readings, poems and recollections from dignitaries, those who had firsthand experience and others. Today was very poignant as Jewish people in this country are not having an easy time at the moment. However badly people think Israel has behaved – what was palpable in the air today was how vulnerable they still feel in this country. I don’t know what the recent stats are on anti-Semitic attacks, but that feeling of vulnerability was very much there. And the Jews are not Israel. Believing that would equate with the dreadful discrimination against Muslims as if all of them are synonymous with terrorists.
It is always a shock to see a gas chamber (part of a screen presentation) and in your mind’s eye to imagine the people – and particularly the children – being herded into these filthy, hideous stone rooms – and then instead of water – the gas.
There are many holocausts around the world where one race decides to slaughter another – but I always think that one reason that this holocaust has such resonance is because the perpetrators were so like us, in a nearby country. It’s a reminder that civilisation is only skin deep – and that’s why we remember and must guard against those who do harbour racial hatred deep within but mask that truth until their opportunity knocks. We must never let that happen.