This year marks 72 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. On this day, we look back to the genocide of six million Jewish people along with millions of others, including Polish and Slavic peoples, those of Roma descent, disabled and LGBT+ people and political opponents.
We remember the horror that can manifest when fascism, bigotry and hatred go unchallenged. We remember the scale of the antisemitic persecution, deportation, and mass murder, and we remember that it was not limited to one place; governments and politicians across Europe, even in the UK, made antisemitism acceptable through their statements and actions, especially when denying safety to refugees.
And we do more than remember. We collectively promise “Never Again!” We promise to reinforce our efforts and commitment to fighting the rise of racism and those political forces who would take us back to some of the darkest pages of European history. And so we promise to fight against the normalisation and institutionalisation of discrimination and hate across society.
This year's HMD theme is “How Can Life Go On?” The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust has launched an insightful and poignant video that identifies the distinct parallels between the discrimination, prejudice and fear that led to the Holocaust and that we face now. Whilst the video allows us to focus on how far we’ve come, it certainly tells us how far we still need to go. Please do watch and share the video:
I was so proud to be at the conference last year when we passed the motion to tackle antisemitism on our campuses and Holocaust Memorial Day and we, at NUS, now have the privilege of working with the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) on how we can best support the day and the activities that surround it. We have supported HMDT to produce a specific guide on activities around the day and how students’ unions, colleges and universities can support and get involved in their work and commemorating HMD. You can find the guide here.
Further information on other activities and resources you can access can be found here.
I would also recommend following HMDT via their social media, to engage in online activities and share their work more widely:
And you can also sign up to receive the HMDT Newsletter here.
At NUS we are continuing to do lots of work around how we, the student movement, can work together and within our communities and make it clear that there is no place for hate, not in our education and not in our wider society. Please take today as a day to remember and pay respect to the many people that were lost, whilst taking the opportunity to consider how we, as a movement can oppose racism, fascism and oppression in all its forms.
We are in uncertain and challenging times, but together we are stronger. I look forward to working with you to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day and towards creating a liberated education, accessible for all, because for us, as students, that is one way that we can ensure that life can go on.