Holocaust Memorial Day 2013

Last year, I wrote a poem or the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust called ‘Would you speak?’

Would you speak if they came for me?
I may differ in colour to you,
In costume,
I may not dress like you,
Sound like you,
But would you speak for me?
Would you have the courage of a lion,
Courage of your conviction?
I may believe in a different god, or no god, But our belief in justice binds us, you and me.
So if they came, pistols loaded to take me away, Would you speak out, speak out for me today?

This year I have written another called ‘Through the eyes of a child’. On this day we remember those millions of Jews, Roma, and many others who died in the Holocaust and we live in hope that nothing like this ever happens again.

Through the eyes of a child

Through the eyes of a child, you see not hatred,
ancient prejudice is unknown,
Blood libels aren’t the tales we read from,
the eyes of a child do not differentiate,
Discriminate between the colour of the skin,
the way they speak,
the god they believe in.
They do not throw books and people to burn,
Against their very neighbours burn,
They do not seek to commit atrocity,
Though the eyes of a child you see innocence,
Though the eyes of a child you see humanity.

Holocaust Memorial Day

Today marks Holocaust memorial day, which falls on the 66th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. On the site, http://www.hmd.org.uk/resources/podcasts/untold-stories-political-parties , various public figures have told their stories about the Holocaust, with David Miliband recounting how Catholic farmers helped hide his family from the Nazis and he applauds the courage shown by those who protected Jews from persecution during the war. The guardian features 5 moving stories from those who survived genocides from the Holocaust to Rwanda and I urge you to take a look at them- http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/26/holocaust-rwanda-cambodia-survivors .

The purpose of HMD is about remembering the victims and those whose lives have been changed beyond recognition of the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and the ongoing atrocities today in Darfur. I know from visiting Auschwitz how vital it is to remeber what has happened, the enormity and the scale of it as if we remeber the past, we can continue to learn from it. As the website for the Memorial day states itself “by learning from the lessons of the past, we can create a safer, better future.” Lets hope education and tolerance triumph over prejudice and  ensure that an unspeakable tragedy like this will NEVER happen again!

Never again,

Words uttered over and over again,

We look back at the camps, the suffering in horror,

In disbelief, in disgust, in shame.

I still hear the echoes in the chamber from those dark days,

Cries, screams of those who were shown no mercy,

Nor should they fade away,

Nor should we forget.

Today we light the candle to remember,

To reflect, to hope, we light the flame,

That we can have a better tommorow,

That we will never suffer like this again,