Delyn MP David Hanson has pledged commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day by signing a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons to honour those who perished in the Holocaust.
With 27th January marking the 66th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and extermination camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Holocaust Educational Trust placed a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons to give MPs the opportunity to remember those who were persecuted and murdered during the Holocaust – and to support the sharing and safeguarding of ‘Untold Stories’, learning from survivors’ experiences to help create a future free from hatred and prejudice.
In doing so, David Hanson has paid tribute to those remarkable individuals who survived the appalling events of the Holocaust and have since dedicated their lives to educating younger generations about the dangers of allowing persecution and intolerance to take hold in society.
On and around Holocaust Memorial Day, schools, local communities and faith groups from across the UK will join together to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. Thousands of events are being held across the country to commemorate all those who suffered at the hands of the Nazis during the Holocaust and in subsequent genocides. The aim of the day is to motivate people – individually and collectively, to ensure that the horrendous crimes, racism and victimisation committed during the Holocaust are neither forgotten nor repeated.
David Hanson said:
“In the tenth year of its commemoration in the UK, Holocaust Memorial Day 2011 marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. As antisemitism, racism and prejudice are still present in our society, learning from the extraordinary ‘Untold Stories’ of those who survived gives us the opportunity to reflect on the evil that was perpetrated during the Holocaust and other genocides and pledge to create a brighter future.”
Karen Pollock, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said:
“We are delighted that David Hanson is supporting Holocaust Memorial Day. As the number of survivors dwindles, remembering the Holocaust and passing on their testimony is more crucial than ever. Reflecting on ‘Untold Stories’ helps give back voices to those who were persecuted and reinforces the contemporary lessons that can be learnt from this dark period in our history.”
Notes for Editors
About the Holocaust Educational Trust
Founded by Lord Janner of Braunstone and the late Lord Merlyn Rees, the Holocaust Educational Trust was formed in 1988. The Trust was developed by MPs and Peers as a result of renewed interest and need for knowledge about the Holocaust during the passage of the War Crimes Act in the late 1980s. Our aim is to raise awareness and understanding in schools and amongst the wider public of the Holocaust and its relevance today. We believe the Holocaust must have a permanent place in our nation’s collective memory.
One of the Trust’s first achievements was to ensure that the Holocaust was included in the National Curriculum for England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 1991 – for Key Stage 3 students (11-14 year olds). We also successfully campaigned to have the assets of Holocaust victims and Survivors released and returned to their rightful owners.
Having played a crucial role in the establishment of Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK, the Trust continues to play a key role in the delivery of this national commemorative event.
In 2010 the Government issued a new award to recognise the small group of British men and women who worked to aid and rescue Jewish people and other persecuted groups during the Holocaust –as a direct result of an initiative by the Trust to raise their profile and secure formal recognition for them.
We work in schools, colleges and higher education institutions, providing teacher training workshops and lectures, as well as teaching aids and resource materials.
Our activities include:
Lessons from Auschwitz Project: The Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz Project for post-16 students and teachers is now in its thirteenth year and has taken over 12,000 students and teachers from across the UK to Auschwitz-Birkenau, as well as many MPs and other guests. The four-part course incorporates a one-day visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau. The visits, combined with Orientation and Follow-up seminars, leave an unforgettable emotional and educational mark on participants. The Project aims to increase knowledge and understanding of the Holocaust based on the premise that ‘hearing is not like seeing’ and to signal what can happen if prejudice and racism become acceptable.
In November 2005, the Treasury announced funding of £1.5 million for the Trust to support its Lessons from Auschwitz Project. The funding has enabled the Trust to facilitate visits to Auschwitz-Birkenau for 2 students from every school in the UK. In February 2008, the then Department for Children, Schools and Families announced renewed funding for English schools. In November 2008 the Scottish Government announced funding for Scottish schools and in 2009, the Welsh Assembly Government pledged support to enable Welsh schools to participate. On 28th June 2010 the Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP said: “The commitment to support the Trust which the last government gave is one we are proud to be able to continue with.”
The Outreach Programme gives students and teachers the opportunity to hear Survivor testimony firsthand – the impact of hearing a Survivor speak is something most people never forget and is a key feature of the Trust’s approach to this subject. The Programme is free of charge and enables young people to hear and talk to survivors. It also allows them to take part in focused workshops designed and delivered by Holocaust Educational Trust educators.
Think Equal has been devised specifically for schools in areas of racial tension. Working with staff in schools Holocaust Educational Trust educators deliver teacher training to enable staff to devise workshops for their students focusing on the dangers of racism and discrimination and the contemporary lessons to be drawn from the Holocaust. As part of the project, students are also given the opportunity to hear a Holocaust survivor speak.
Teacher training: The Trust delivers teacher training to both trainee teachers at universities and institutions of higher education and to practising teachers as part of their Continuing Professional Development. We also hold an annual teacher training course at Yad Vashem, Jerusalem which is open to both trainee and practising teachers from across the country.
Educators: The Trust also trains and employs a large number of educators from across the country, who work on a freelance basis, to deliver interactive workshops as part of our Outreach Programme; deliver teacher training or our Lessons from Auschwitz Projects.
Resource Development: The Trust develops engaging and interactive educational resources for use by teachers and students. These include the BAFTA-winning resource Recollections: Eyewitnesses Remember the Holocaust, developed in conjunction with the USC Shoah Foundation Institute and features filmed testimony from 18 Survivors and other eyewitnesses of the Holocaust. Other recently developed resources include, Martin & Erica’s Journey, created in partnership with the National Union of Teachers for use in primary schools and The Holocaust: A Guide for Students and Teachers, authored by Professor David Cesarani.
The Holocaust Educational Trust has been closely involved in the establishment and development of Holocaust Memorial Day since its inception in 2000. Holocaust Memorial Day is now administered by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.
Holocaust Memorial Day came about following an MP’s visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau with the Holocaust Educational Trust. Moved by his visit, Andrew Dismore MP proposed a bill, “to introduce a day to learn and remember the Holocaust” June 30 1999.
Every year in the days leading up to Holocaust Memorial Day, the Holocaust Educational Trust places a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons for MPs to sign and pledge to remember the Holocaust and act on its contemporary lessons.
The Holocaust Educational Trust is a charitable company limited by guarantee, charity no: 1092892. We rely on individual donations to produce our resources and deliver our educational programmes, with the exception of the Lessons from Auschwitz Project, which is supported by a Government grant. If you would like information on how to donate to the Trust and support our work, please visit our website www.het.org.uk or call us on 020 7222 6822.