The theme of this Holocaust Memorial Day is Standing up to Hatred. We all like to think that we know what we would do in the face of hatred – that in a moment of decision we would honour our obligations to resist brutality and to stand with its victims. In studying the Holocaust, however, one thing becomes painfully clear: that the full barbarity of Hitler’s death camps was the end point of many acts of cruelty and discrimination, each injustice feeding on the last.
The murder of six million Jews and countless Roma, Poles and other Eastern Europeans, gay men and lesbians, trade unionists, disabled people and political and religious opponents of the Nazis was not a sudden and frenzied explosion of hate, but a horror that had been methodically and carefully planned.
Hatred may begin with small acts of prejudice or bigotry – but it rarely ends with them. That is why we all have an obligation to stand up to hatred. This Holocaust Memorial Day I hope that people all across Britain will join me in renewing a personal commitment to resisting hatred wherever it is found today.
Holocaust Memorial Day Trust