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HOLOCAUST EDUCATIONAL TRUST BOOK OF COMMITMENT

This week Eddisbury MP Edward Timpson signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment

Eddisbury MP Edward Timpson pledged his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day, honouring those who were murdered during the Holocaust, as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people still. 

Holocaust Memorial Day falls on 27th January annually: the anniversary of the liberation of the infamous former Nazi concentration and death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, in 1945. On this day of reflection, people worldwide come together to remember the horrors of the past. 

In the lead-up to and on Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events have been 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 ‘Ordinary People’. 

On Holocaust Memorial Day we also remember and pay tribute to all of those persecuted by the Nazis, including Roma and Sinti people, disabled people, gay men, political opponents to the Nazis, and others. We also remember all of those affected by genocide since the Second World War: in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. 

After signing the Book of Commitment, Edward Timpson CBE KC, Member of Parliament for Eddisbury, commented: 

“Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity for the Cheshire residents to reflect on the darkest times of European history. 

“Today, I pledge to remember the six million Jewish men, women and children who were murdered in the Holocaust, and all of the others who had their lives devalued or taken by Nazi tyranny. 

“They were not just categories: they were people who should have been able to live freely regardless of their faith, ability, ethnicity, or sexuality. 

“That freedom cannot be too highly-prized, and must always be protected—for as we have seen since the Second World War, genocide is not the sole preserve of a particular generation or political movement.” 

Karen Pollock CBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: 

“On Holocaust Memorial Day we remember the 6 million men, women and children who were murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators, simply for being Jewish, and we pay tribute to the incredible survivors, many of whom still share their testimony day in and day out to ensure that future generations never forget the horrors of the past.  

“We also remember that antisemitism did not start or end with the Holocaust.

“We must all be vigilant, and speak out against antisemitism whenever and wherever it is found.” 

About the Holocaust Educational Trust

The Holocaust Educational Trust (HET) was founded in 1988. Their mission is to raise awareness and understanding in schools and amongst the wider public of the Holocaust and its relevance today. It is the HET's belief that the Holocaust must have a permanent place in our nation’s collective memory. 

One of the HET'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. The HET also successfully campaigned to have the assets of Holocaust victims and survivors released and returned to their rightful owners in the late 1990s.

Since 1999 the HET's Lessons from Auschwitz Project has given tens of thousands post-16 students and teachers the opportunity to visit the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, as part of a four-part educational programme. Since 2008 the Project has received Government funding.

Having played a crucial role in the establishment of Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK in 2001, the HET continues to play a key role in the delivery of this national commemorative day.

At the HET's Appeal Dinner in September 2013, the Prime Minister announced the establishment of a national Holocaust Commission to establish what further measures should be taken to ensure a lasting memorial to the Holocaust in the UK. In January 2015, the Prime Minister—with cross-party support—endorsed the Commission’s recommendations, which include a striking new national memorial and learning centre.

In July 2017, the HET supported a visit to the former Nazi concentration camp Stutthof by Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, where the couple met with camp survivors Zigi Shipper BEM and Manfred Goldberg BEM. This high-profile initiative helped to shine a spotlight on the importance of ensuring that the Holocaust is never forgotten.

In 2020, the HET and UCL Centre for Holocaust Studies—with support from the National Holocaust Centre & Museum, and funding from the Department for Education—launched Belsen75: a commemorative and educational project allowing young people to mark the anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen by British forces on 15th April.

In March 2020, due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the HET suspended all overseas projects and in-person educational programmes. Since then it has adapted its work by:

  • facilitating online sessions so that survivors can continue to share their testimony through video calls,
  • creating specialist home learning resources for teachers and families to use remotely, and 

  • using the latest in digital technologies to explore sites of the Holocaust.

Through its work the HET is enabling young people to understand the past and empowering them to stand up against antisemitism, prejudice and hatred in the present, to shape a more positive future. 

Today, the HET's work is more vital than ever. In an increasingly fragile world and volatile political climate, it is so important that the HET works to educate young people about the Holocaust and its contemporary relevance.

About Holocaust Memorial Day

Holocaust Memorial Day was established following an MP's visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau with the HET.

Moved by this visit, Andrew Dismore MP presented a bill in Parliament “to introduce a day to learn and remember the Holocaust” on 30th June 1999.

The Holocaust Educational Trust has been closely involved in the establishment and development of Holocaust Memorial Day since its inception in 2000.

The theme for UK Holocaust Memorial Day 2023 is ‘Ordinary People’.

Pictured - Edward Timpson, Member of Parliament for Eddisbury, signing the Holocaust Education Trust Book of Commitment.

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