Holocaust Memorial Day is commemorated internationally on 27th January each year. The date was chosen as it was the day in 1945 on which the Soviet Army liberated the largest Nazi concentration camp - Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The day allows us to reflect on what can happen when racism, prejudice and exclusionary behaviour are left unchecked. As well as remembering the victims and survivors of the Holocuast it is also a reminder that unless we oppose discrimination, persecution and racism such crimes could happen at any time and in any place as the genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and the ongoing atrocities in Darfur painfully highlight.
I received the letter opposite from a pupil at a local Westminster school that organised a trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau which I helped sponsor. The pupil writes: "...the trip was a powerful and poignant reminder of the path humanity should not take."
The fact that our children continue to learn these lessons from the tradgegy of The Shoah fills me with hope. I urge you all to spend a moment remembering the victims of the Holocaust on 27th January.