As Patron, I would like to extend a warm welcome to you all to the National Commemorative Ceremony for Holocaust Memorial Day 2020.
The commemoration of seventy-five years since the camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated is truly an occasion of national significance and I am heartened to hear of thousands of events taking place in all parts of the United Kingdom to mark this sombre, but significant anniversary.
With the invaluable support of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, people of all ages and backgrounds are enabled to learn from the Holocaust and more recent genocides.
Today is also the beginning of a whole year of reflection, as it also marks the seventy-fifth anniversaries of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen and Dachau camps, as well as the commemorations, later in the year, of the end of the Second World War itself. In July we will mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the genocidal massacre in Srebrenica, Bosnia. While all these occasions call us to remember, they must also call us to resolve that such unutterable evil shall never again be allowed to grow.
As we stand at the milestone of seventy-five years since the end of the Holocaust, it is natural to reflect on how far we have come and what society might have learned since those dreadful events.
We can reflect that if we have found how devastating hatred can be, we have found that hope is stronger still. If we have seen the worst of human nature, we are the better prepared to guard against it.
With such sobering knowledge comes great responsibility. Wherever we see malice that seeks to marginalise; wherever identity is subjected to hostility, we must, as this year’s theme reminds us, Stand Together to oppose it.
This seventy-fifth anniversary is therefore a time for us all to resolve to act with greater compassion, greater humanity and greater courage, so that, guided by lessons from this darkest time in our shared history, we can create a shared future where no such shadows can fall.