As the world marked Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27, Luton and Dunstable MPs honoured those who were murdered and paid tribute to the survivors who work tirelessly to educate the younger generation.
The day marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history.
Auschwitz was built in the suburbs of Oświęcim, a city in the south of Nazi-occupied Poland, and ‘Auschwitz’ is a Germanisation of this city name.
It was a network of several camps, combining forced labour and extermination camps, and is the most infamous.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum estimates that the numbers of victims at the Auschwitz camp complex, including the killing centre at Auschwitz-Birkenau, between 1940 and 1945 are: Jews (1,095,000 deported to Auschwitz, 960,000 died)
Non-Jewish Poles (140,000- 150,000 deported, 74,000 died)
Roma (Gypsies) (23,000 deported, 21,000 died)
Soviet prisoners of war (15,000 deported and died)
Other nationalities (25,000 deported, 10,000-15,000 died).
In a poignant message to Bedfordshire constituents, MPs Andrew Selous (South West Bedfordshire) and Gavin Shuker (Luton South), said:“Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity for people to reflect on the tragic events of the Holocaust.
“As the Holocaust moves from living history, to just history, it becomes ever more important that we take the time to remember the victims and pay tribute to the survivors.”
Karen Pollock MBE, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “The Holocaust did not start in the gas chambers but with hate filled words.
“Our mission is to educate young people about its contemporary relevance.
“We are very grateful to Andrew Selous MP and Gavin Shuker MP for signing the Book of Commitment, a continued commitment to remembering the victims of the Holocaust as well as challenging antisemitism, prejudice and bigotry in all its forms.”
The theme for this year’s commemorations is ‘Torn from Home’.
To learn more about the Holocaust, please visit: https://www.hmd.org.uk/