We mark Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) to remember the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, alongside the millions of other people killed under Nazi Persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. Ahead of HMD 2020, I joined survivors of the Holocaust and more recent genocides and politicians at a reception in Parliament to mark the launch of a new digital campaign urging people to ‘Stand Together’ and commemorate the lives of individuals murdered by the Nazis.
The campaign, launched by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, pairs people with the name of a person murdered by the Nazis, which they can share on social media in a digital act of remembrance. Names of Jewish people murdered, alongside Roma, gay, disabled people and other groups are all included in the project.
I learnt about Mano Eisikovits, born in 1911, and Domna Arditti, who lived in Thessaloniki, Greece, who were both murdered by the Nazis for being Jewish.
Thousands of names have been gathered for the campaign by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, with the support of Yad Vashem. Other named individuals being remembered include Gyula Sandor from Budapest, who was murdered by the Nazis for being Jewish and Siegfried Bamberger, who was murdered by the Nazis for being part of the Roma and Sinti community.
The Stand Together project reflects the theme chosen for Holocaust Memorial Day 2020, which explores how genocidal regimes have deliberately fractured societies by marginalising certain groups, and how these tactics can be challenged.
At the event I was able to hear from Rachel Levy BEM, a survivor of the notorious Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps. Speaking to attendees, she said: “It is important for all of us to stand together in our communities. Members of Parliament and Peers have a responsibility and an opportunity to lead by example. We must stand together – in the memory of my family, and everyone who was murdered in the Holocaust. We must stand together against division and hate today.”
It is vital that we always remember those who were so tragically murdered because of their religion, culture, race, sexuality or disability and stand up against discrimination in all its forms.