Holocaust Memorial Day


Earlier this week I signed a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons, honouring those who were persecuted and killed during the Holocaust.

Holocaust Memorial Day, on 27th January, marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau – the Nazi concentration and extermination camp which is the site of the largest mass murder in history. The day is an important opportunity to both remember the victims of genocide and commit to speak out against prejudice and bigotry today.

The Book of Commitment was placed in the House of Commons by the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET), who work with young people to educate them about the Holocaust and explore the important lessons to be learned for today.

In 2008 I joined local students from Shenley Court School on a visit to Auschwitz organised by the HET. It is so important that young people have opportunities like this to see the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp first hand and explore the lessons that can be learnt from the Holocaust.

Seeing for yourself one of the principal sites where over one and a half million people were murdered has a huge effect on you. It is not just the scale of the suffering that hits you, but also the deliberate and clinical way that genocide was carried out. One of the buildings at Birkenau contains family photographs of some of those that died. There is a silence about the place that speaks volumes.

It reminds us about the message we must keep safe from the Holocaust – about tolerance and the need to fight bigotry and hatred. May the memory of genocide always be a reason to fight injustice, never an excuse not to do so.

I have also signed a parliamentary motion marking Holocaust Memorial Day 2012.

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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You can reach me by email at richard@richardburden.com or use the form on the Contact page to send me a message.