The Deputy Prime Minister recorded a video message to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, 70 years after the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Last week, I was privileged to sit down and talk with one of the bravest, most remarkable people I’ve ever met – Zigi Shipper. Zigi was just 11 years old when he first escaped deportation from the Lodz ghetto where he’d been living with his paternal grandparents. When the ghetto was liquidated in 1944, Zigi and his grandmother were rounded up and taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau. His grandfather had already died of starvation.
By the time he was 16, Zigi had witnessed and experienced unimaginable horrors. But, despite it all, his story is one of true courage and hope. As a Holocaust survivor, Zigi has dedicated his time to ensuring that the millions of Jewish people who were persecuted and killed by the Nazi regime are never forgotten.
Now 85, Zigi travels to schools to tell children and young people across the country his story. I met him with 2 dedicated, young Ambassadors of the Holocaust Educational Trust, who took part in a visit I made to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 2012.
Learning about the Holocaust is not just a history lesson. It is one of the most powerful antidotes we have to anti-Semitism and extremism whenever and wherever it may occur. And, we all have a responsibility to ensure that the testimonies of Zigi and other survivors of the Holocaust continue to be told for generations to come.
This year’s Holocaust Memorial Day marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and 20 years since the genocide in Sbreneicia in Bosnia.
So, on this day and in the weeks, months and years that follow, please take a moment to remember the victims of the Holocaust and all subsequent genocides. Together, we can honour their memory in the best way possible – fighting hatred and ensuring their voices live on.