Today I signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment, in doing so I pledged my commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who were murdered during the Holocaust as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people.
Tuesday 27th January will mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history.
In the weeks leading up to and after Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events will be arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides.
Virendra Sharma MP commented:
“Holocaust Memorial Day marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau – and is an important opportunity to remember the victims and survivors of the Holocaust and make sure they are not forgotten. I encourage all constituents to mark the day and to join members of my community in the fight against prejudice and intolerance.”
Holocaust Memorial Day was established following an MP’s visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau with the Holocaust Educational Trust. Moved by his visit, Andrew Dismore MP proposed a bill, “to introduce a day to learn and remember the Holocaust” on 30June 1999.
The Holocaust Educational Trust has been closely involved in the establishment and development of Holocaust Memorial Day since its inception in 2000. Holocaust Memorial Day is now coordinated by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.
The theme for the UK Holocaust Memorial Day 2015 is ‘Keeping the Memory Alive’.
About the Holocaust Educational Trust
Founded by Lord Janner of Braunstone and the late Lord Merlyn Rees, the Holocaust Educational Trust was formed in 1988 as a result of renewed interest and need for knowledge about the Holocaust during the passage of the War Crimes Act. Our aim is to raise awareness and understanding in schools and amongst the wider public of the Holocaust and its relevance today. We believe the Holocaust must have a permanent place in our nation’s collective memory.
One of the Trust’s first achievements was to ensure that the Holocaust was included in the National Curriculum for England in 1991 – for Key Stage 3 students (11-14 year olds). We also successfully campaigned to have the assets of Holocaust victims and survivors released and returned to their rightful owners.
Since 1999 the Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz Project has given thousands of post-16 students and teachers the opportunity to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau as part of a four-part educational programme. The Project is now in its fifteenth year and has taken over 25,000 students and teachers from across the UK to Auschwitz-Birkenau, as well as many MPs and other guests.
To mark our 25th year, last year we launched our Ambassador Programme, headed up by Lord Browne of Madingley. Ambassadors have been invested with the responsibility for delivering a powerful message about what happened during the Holocaust to their peers and wider communities. In November 2014 we appointed our latest cohort of Regional Ambassadors, we now have 65 Regional Ambassadors across the United Kingdom who have shown outstanding commitment to ensuring that the lessons of the Holocaust are not forgotten – the Regional Ambassadors coordinate and encourage the work of Ambassadors in their area.
We work in schools, colleges and higher education institutions, providing teacher training workshops and lectures, as well as teaching aids and resource materials.