Remembering the horror of the Holocaust | Holocaust

Sun 21 Jan 2024 18.01 CET

On 27 January, the UK will commemorate the UK’s annual Holocaust Memorial Day. We do so at a time when the fabric of our diverse society feels increasingly fragile. Since October the UK has witnessed unprecedented increases in anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim hate crimes. Much is made of the role of the ongoing conflict in Israel and Gaza as a driver of this hatred: British Muslims being held falsely accountable for the killings of Israeli civilians by Hamas, and British Jews for civilians killed by Israeli military action in Gaza.

It’s undoubtedly true that the horrific violence we are seeing is heightening tensions, but the reality is this conflict is amplifying unaddressed issues of hate in our society. It is not concern for Jewish safety in Israel that compels someone to dump a pig’s head at a proposed mosque site, or a desire to express solidarity with the Palestinian people that makes someone scrawl swastikas on bridges. Both are motivated by hatred we can grow here at home.

Holocaust Memorial Day is a moment to remember the systematic slaughter of 6 million Jewish people for no reason other than who they were. The day is also when we remember the genocides of Cambodia, Rwanda, Srebrenica and Darfur, and remind us all of where dehumanisation, prejudice and hatred can lead. As we remember these genocides, we need to ensure we learn their lessons and be ready to act to prevent adding any more to that awful list.

As politicians from three different parties, we come together to remind our country that the rising tide of hatred we have seen in recent months makes it more important than ever that we take this moment on 27 January to remember the inevitable outcome of indulging hatred and staying silent when others are persecuted for who they are.
Sayeeda Warsi, Naz Shah MP and Layla Moran MP

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