Justin Tomlinson MP

Justin Tomlinson MP

MP For North Swindon

Swindon Advertiser Column - We Must Never Forget The Holocaust

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day, a day to honour those who were murdered during the Holocaust, and subsequent genocides, and to pay tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who continue to work tirelessly to educate young people today.

Holocaust Memorial Day falls on 27th January every year, the anniversary of the liberation of the infamous former Nazi concentration and death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, in 1945. Across the UK – and the world – people will come together to reflect on the horrors of the past and to pledge that this must never happen again.

11 million people were murdered during the Holocaust – the majority being Jewish men, women and children, but also Roma and Sinti people, disabled people, gay men, political opponents to the Nazis and others. Their murder is the darkest moment in living memory, and it is still unfathomable as to how people can commit such evil.

In December, we commemorated the 80th anniversary of the House of Commons acknowledging that the Holocaust was taking place. Following the then Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden’s description of the cruel treatment and murder carried out in the concentration camps, MPs from across the House held the first ever one-minute silence in the Chamber. 80 years later, we must ensure that the horrors of the Holocaust are never forgotten.

Tragically, since the Holocaust, genocides have occurred in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia - and as recently as a few years ago in Darfur. Holocaust Memorial Day is an opportunity to remember the victims of these subsequent genocides and to pledge to make sure they never happen again.

I want to wish good luck to The Kelly Foundation, which officially launches next week. The Kelly Foundation was set up in memory of local journalist and radio presenter, Kelly Jobanputra, to provide practical and emotional support to individuals experiencing clinical and acute anxiety, depression, and related issues with their mental health. I look forward to seeing how The Kelly Foundation progresses and hearing more about the important work it is doing.

Finally to finish on a very positive note, readers may remember that a little while ago, I wrote about The Open Door Centre. They are a fantastic charity for adults with learning disabilities, and their goal is to enrich their lives socially whilst also giving them transferable skills that would aid them in their daily lives. They are based in St Barnabas Church Hall, and every time I have visited, I have enjoyed a warm welcome and a very cheerful atmosphere.

However, running an organisation like The Open Door Centre can be expensive, and I have been keen highlight the fantastic fund-raising work they do. I recently wrote about the extra support the group needs and asked if any other groups or businesses could offer any help. I have been delighted with the response and I have been able to attract some support – including a donation of £500 from the Orbital Shopping Park earlier this week.

The Open Door Centre is so important for the people it supports, and I am very pleased that the Swindon community has been so willing to rally around to offer their help and support.

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