The human cost of the Holocaust must be a reminder of our duty to prevent further genocides, Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael has said. Speaking in Parliament during the Holocaust Memorial Day debate this week, Mr Carmichael spoke of his memories visiting the Auschwitz concentration camp and praised the efforts of the British Jewish community to draw attention to the growing evidence of genocide in Xinjiang.
Speaking virtually in Parliament, Mr Carmichael said:
“Like many Members over the years, I have visited Auschwitz. It was some years ago, as part of a visit organised by the Holocaust Educational Trust with schoolchildren from my constituency. I pay particular tribute to the HET and its chief executive Karen Pollock for doing such amazing work in this area.
“It was a day that I will never ever forget. In Auschwitz, in the hall at the end of the visit there is pinboard after pinboard after pinboard of photographs that were taken from the wallets of those who had been taken to the camp, exactly the sort of photograph that I carried of my own family in my wallet at the time and which we all doubtless do. It was at that point that you understood the sheer enormity and human cost of what had been perpetrated there.”
Highlighting the risk of a modern-day genocide in places like Xinjiang in China, Mr Carmichael said:
“To ensure that we properly honour the memory of those who were murdered in the Holocaust, we have a duty to ensure that this never happens again to the Jewish people or to any other people in any other part of the world.
“I want to pay particular tribute to the British Jewish community for all that they have done when confronted with what they have seen happening in Xinjiang province to the Uyghur Muslim population. The Jewish News in particular has taken a brave and courageous stand. Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis spoke powerfully this week about the resonances that he, as a Jewish man, could see from Xinjiang province of what his own people suffered in Europe in the 1940s. They were powerful words to which we should listen and pay the most careful attention.
“We now live in a very different age where information travels around the world much more easily than it ever did before. Nobody will ever be able to say that they did not know what was happening in Xinjiang province and what was happening to the Uyghur Muslims. We cannot now look round, while at the same time paying tribute to those who have perished.”