Foreign Office commemorates Holocaust Memorial Day, restates importance of vigilance against anti-Semitism

By January 27 2017, 12:29 Latest News No Comments

Boris Johnson yad vashemForeign Secretary Boris Johnson joined the Prime Minister today in commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day, pledging to learn from the Holocaust and confront anti-Semitism.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson vowed in his message that the Government would continue to tackle anti-Semitism “head on wherever it is found”. The Foreign Secretary said: “It is important that survivor stories are heard. And as time goes by, it becomes ever more important that we listen, learn, remember, and educate future generations about the causes of the Holocaust, in particular antisemitism. Sadly, this remains an ever-present concern today. We will continue to tackle it head on wherever it is found and stand with our Jewish friends and neighbours around the world in defence of their right to live free from hatred and prejudice”.

He continued: “The UK Government is committed to strengthening international collaboration to promote Holocaust education, remembrance and research. We will continue to honour this commitment, not only through our work with international partners, but also with civil society organisations who are dedicated to these efforts. Together we can put the lessons into practice and so educate the next generation that anti-Semitic prejudice is consigned to the past”.

Minister for the Middle East Tobias Ellwood MP said in his Holocaust Memorial Day message that “we must always remember the victims of the Holocaust and genocide”.

The Embassy of Israel and the UK Foreign Office held a joint event this week to mark Holocaust Memorial Day event, which was was hosted by Baroness Anelay, Minister for Human Rights.

The event welcomed guest speakers which included UK Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues, Rt. Hon. Sir Eric Pickles MP, Ambassador of Israel, H.E. Mark Regev, academic adviser at Yad Vashem Professor Yehuda Bauer, and Holocaust survivor Dorit Wolffe.

The theme of this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day, “how can life go on?”, led each speaker to emphasise the threat of anti-Semitism that remains today a phenomenon which remained prominent as European Jewry rebuilt itself in the aftermath of the Holocaust.

In her speech, Baroness Anelay said: “it is only by remembering that we can learn from the past and ensure that history does not repeat itself”.

The importance of recognising and combating anti-Semitism in the present day was further underlined by Professor Yehuda Bauer who said that the Holocaust was “certainly unprecedented, but it is up to us to ensure this evil remains unique”.

Sir Eric Pickles highlighted the challenge of Holocaust denial, stating that “we know that the final stage of any genocide is denial”. He said “such a challenge makes events like this one ever more important in uniting communities in saying ‘never again'”.

Ambassador Regev said: “The theme of this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day is ‘How can life go on?’ It reminds us that we must not only commemorate the six million Jews who were murdered, but that we must stand with those who, against all the odds, succeeded in surviving the horrors of those terrible years”.

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