Thame’s MP honours Holocaust victims and survivors in Book of Commitment

MP John Howell signs the Holocaust Educational Trust's Book of Commitment
MP John Howell signs the Holocaust Educational Trust's Book of Commitment

MP John Howell has signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment, honouring the many millions of people who died.

The signing by the member for the Henley Constituency pledges his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and also pays tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work to educate young people today.

Saturday, January 27 marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history.

In the lead up to and on Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events will be arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. The theme for this year’s commemorations is ‘The power of words’.

Mr Howell said: “Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity for people from the Henley constituency and across the country 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 also pay tribute to the survivors. I would encourage my constituents to show their support for such an important day.”

Karen Pollock, 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 from every background about the Holocaust and its contemporary relevance. We are very grateful to MP John Howell for signing the Book of Commitment, signalling a continued commitment to remembering the victims of the Holocaust as well as challenging antisemitism and prejudice.”

The Holocaust Educational Trust was founded in 1988 during the passage of the War Crimes Act and it aims to raise awareness and understanding in schools and amongst the wider public of the Holocaust and its relevance today.

One of the trust’s earliest achievements was to ensure that the Holocaust was included in the National Curriculum for England in 1991 – for Key Stage 3 students (11-14 year olds). The Holocaust has remained on the National Curriculum since then. It has also successfully campaigned to have the assets of Holocaust victims and survivors released and returned to their rightful owners in the late 1990s.

Holocaust Memorial Day was established 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” on June 30, 1999.