Holocaust Memorial Day 2017

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid speaks at the national event marking Holocaust Memorial Day.

The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP

72 years ago the world learned of the liberation of Auschwitz and the full horror of the death camps.

And as we looked at the devastation wrought on the Jews of Europe, we swore that we would never let genocide happen again.

We failed.

Genocide happened in Cambodia.

It happened in Rwanda.

The 20th century ended with genocide in Bosnia.

The 21st century began with genocide in Darfur.

Faced not only with such unimaginable evil, but also with our repeated failure to learn from it, it’s easy to ask “How can life go on?”

I find the answer in the words that one young victim of the Holocaust wrote in her diary.

“I still believe people are really good at heart”.

Anne Frank was right.

People can be good.

We can be better.

We just need to be reminded of our failings, and not permitted to forget what happens when hatred is left to grow unchecked.

So, life can go on because life must go on.

Because we must remember.

That’s why Holocaust Memorial Day is so important.

And that’s why I’m so proud to be leading the work on the new National Holocaust Memorial.

It’s going to be built right outside Parliament, and concept designs will be unveiled at 10 Downing Street later on today.

The memorial will remind us of those who died and those who survived.

But it will also remind us that the Holocaust did not begin in the gas chambers.

It began with words.

With discrimination.

With ordinary people not standing up to hatred.

And that’s a message that’s as relevant today as at any time in our history.

A message that must be shared, that must be passed on to our children and our children’s children.

Because in the words of Zigi Shipper, one of 112 Holocaust survivors whose testimony has been recorded for the memorial project:

“I beg the young people, whatever you do, do not hate.

“Hate will ruin your life.”

Published 26 January 2017