Thursday, 27 January 2011

Holocaust Memorial Day

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day. We were reminded of this at Nonsuch by Mr Sides' excellent assembly that focused on some of the lesser known stories of the Holocaust, such as the treatment of Jews in Nazi-occupied Greece, and the work of Nicholas Winton, a British businessman who was able to transport 669 Jewish children out of Prague before the Second World War began. You can learn more about him here and here. He is still alive (aged 101!) and recently met 22 of the people who he saved. Channel 5 has made a documentary about him and you can watch it here.

The History Today blog discusses the opening of a new website, The Holocaust Explained, designed to explain why the Holocaust and other acts of genocide took place. There are useful timelines and answers to key questions. There is an also an article discussing the origins of the term "blood libel", used recently and controversially by Sarah Palin. It refers to a particularly unpleasant myth used to spread hysteria about Jewish communities, and is something that really should not be used outside of its historical context.

It may now be 66 years since Auschwitz was liberated, but Holocaust Memorial Day provides an important moment to stop and think about how we always have a choice either to either condone something we know to be wrong through inaction or stand up against it. It is up to us.

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