Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Executive Member for Community Development, blogs for Holocaust Memorial Day 2017.
Today (Friday) is Holocaust Memorial Day, which offers us an opportunity to reflect on the millions of people around the world who have lost their lives to genocide. We openly commit to standing against intolerance and, through our awareness of the Holocaust’s atrocities, pledge never to let it happen again.
As someone whose family was profoundly shaped by the Holocaust, Holocaust Memorial Day has a particular significance for me and my family. My grandfather survived Dachau concentration camp and came to the UK as a Refugee. I have always been aware that my existence was predicated on the people being brave and willing to help others.
From the Holocaust to Rwanda to Bosnia, genocides are humanity’s darkest nightmares realised. We must never forget these tragedies and learn from history so we do not repeat the mistakes of the past. And we must never be silent when confronted with racism and hatred.
Holocaust Memorial Day reminds us why we must counter the rising tide of anti-Semitism and racism in all its forms. Why we must continue to respond to global crises like the conflict in Syria with compassion. I am proud to call Islington my home, where people can practice whatever religion they choose without fear of being persecuted. I am even prouder that as a council we have been able to make Islington a home for over twenty refugees from Syria.
It is obscene that, in this day and age, many people in this country have been attacked because of their religious affiliations and confronted with racist graffiti, verbal threats and even physical violence. That is why the Council has set up the Anti-Hate Crime strategy, so we can bring the perpetrators to justice and send a clear message that hatred has no place in Islington.
We must lead by example, both in the UK and internationally, and stamp out hatred wherever we find it.
Pictured: Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Jeremy Corbyn MP and others at Islington Council’s Holocaust Memorial Day reception