Catherine McKinnell, Member of Parliament for Newcastle North and Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism has marked Holocaust Memorial Day 2021 by urging all to stand together against hatred and division.

Each year on the 27th January, people and communities around the world come together in a spirit of remembrance and solidarity to look back and reflect on the horrors of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides.

The Holocaust was the murder of six million Jewish men, women and children by the Nazis and their collaborators.  The memory of the Holocaust and the questions it raises about human behaviour hold as much relevance today as they did in the 1940s.

The theme for this year’s commemorations is ‘Light the Darkness’.  It encourages everyone to reflect both on the depth’s humanity can sink to, but also to recall the ways in which individuals and communities resisted that darkness to ‘be the light’ before, during and after genocide.

Increasing levels of denial, division and misinformation in today’s world mean we must renew our commitment to stand against these new and emerging threats in all their forms. The rapid rise of social media and a tumultuous political environment can leave us all feeling powerless and insignificant at times, but we must never forget that we all have the power, individually and collectively to stand up and resist this horrible evil – we must never – abdicate that responsibility.

This year’s theme asks all of us to recognise that the responsibility for genocide education and prevention does not lie only with survivors sharing their testimony. Their experiences hold lessons for all of us and it is vital that we listen to their experiences and become witnesses for them. As distortions and denial increase, we must recommit ourselves to always strive to tell the truth of genocide and genocidal regimes, so the experiences of history are never repeated.

Holocaust Memorial Day enables us to remember – for a purpose. It gives us a responsibility to work for a safer, better, future for everyone. Everyone can step up and use their talents to tackle prejudice, discrimination and intolerance wherever we encounter them.

Speaking about the commemoration Catherine said:

“On this Holocaust Memorial Day, we can either choose to keep quiet or we can each strive to make a difference, even if it is just to one person’s life – by refusing to accept racism when we see it.

“We can all ‘Light the Darkness’ by committing to stand together against hatred and division. So, alongside the Jewish and other minority communities, I will continue to strive to better understand and express how we must stand together against racism so that we never face the horrors of Holocaust again.’

You can watch Catherine speaking about Holocaust Memorial Day here: