This year I have had the honour of speaking in the Holocaust Memorial Day 2021 debate in the House of Commons on the 28th of January. The text of my speech is below. See this link for a video recording.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. It is an honour to have the opportunity to address the House today, as we commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day 2021. The theme this year is ‘Be the light in the darkness’. In the world of today, where injustice and persecution is par for the course in so many lands, this is a powerful, pertinent message. The animus of hatred that drove the Nazi persecution of the Jews and many other marginalised groups such as the Roma, LGBTQ+, and disabled people remains manifest in the world today – and all of us must be a light in the darkness that will confront that hatred and stop it in its tracks.
Even today, 76 years after the liberation of the inmates of Auschwitz-Birkenau, there are vulnerable minorities around the world that suffer identity-based persecution, discrimination and violence. From the Rohingya in Myanmar, to the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, millions of people across our planet are subjected to deliberate, ongoing oppression and attempts at extermination of their culture, way of life and personhood. How we respond to these horrors is a living, everyday test of whether we are the light in the darkness that the memory of the estimated 6 million Jewish people and 11 million others murdered by the Nazis calls on us to be.
Across Europe, too, discrimination against and persecution of many marginalised groups continues today. We cannot be complacent about the anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, anti-traveller, homophobic and transphobic attitudes that prevail in our societies. I would like to pay tribute to organisations such as Human Rights Watch, Hope not Hate and Tell MAMA which continue to document rising hatred and persecution domestically in the UK and around the world.
I wish to pay tribute to the Holocaust Educational Trust, which does excellent work in schools across the UK, including in my constituency, educating our young people about the horrors of the Holocaust and other genocides. I have had the privilege in listening to the deeply moving testimony of Mala Tribich, a survivor of the Holocaust who, alone with her brother ben, was the last member of her family to have survived Nazi persecution.
It is impossible to overstate the importance of these personal accounts. It is paramount that we remember those dark times where the darkness was everywhere, and lights were few. It is vital that they are passed on to the next generation, so that the light of memory inspires other lights, other acts of resistance to even the darkest evil. Let us all be such lights.”