The increase in popular following of politicians who preach hatred and discrimination and the concept of Thatcher’s ‘enemy within’ is growing across Europe and is symbolised by the new President of the United States.
This dangerous trend, which manifests itself against Muslims and East Europeans among others underlines the importance of Holocaust Memorial Day this Friday
In Croydon Holocaust Memorial began on Saturday with the annual concert dedicated to the victims of the inhumanity, barbarism & tyranny of fascism organised by Ruskin House Folk & Blues Club, Ruskin House Management Committee & Croydon Trades Council. It featured international music from Balalaika (Russian, Jewish & Gypsy music), Slavyanya (Russian group) & Red Mamaloshen. Speakers included Tony Newman, Leader of Croydon Council & Sarah Jones, Croydon Central Labour.
When he recently signed the House of Commons Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment Croydon North Labour MP Steve Reed commented: “Holocaust Memorial Day is an important time to remember both the victims and survivors of the Holocaust, 71 years after the liberation of Auschwitz-Berkenau. In doing so we make sure they are not forgotten, and I hope people in Croydon mark the day and continue to fight against hatred and intolerance.”
Holocaust Memorial Day is held on 27 January because it marks the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history.
As Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, says: ‘it is vitally important that we both continue to remember and learn from the appalling events of the Holocaust – as well as ensuring that we continue to challenge antisemitism and all forms of bigotry.’
This evening Croydon’s community choir led by Catherine Pestano is singing peace in anticipation of Holocaust Memorial Day at the Art Gallery in Studio Upstairs, 2-4 Park St.
It will also be taking part in Croydon’s civic ceremony this Friday from noon to 2pm at the Town Hall. It will include a public candle-lighting ceremony in the foyer followed by presentations in the Council Chamber by Croydon resident Henry Walsh and holocaust survivor Marcel Ladenheim on the theme of How can life Go on? and readings from local school pupils.
The David Lean cinema is screening two films:
- Tuesday 24 January. 7.30pm. Sarah’s Key (12A) – subtitled French film)
- Thursday 26 January. 2.30 and 7.30pm, The Innocents (15) – subtitled French/Polish film.
As the Council website states: ‘It is a time when we seek to learn the lessons of the past and to recognise that genocide does not just take place on its own. It’s a steady process which can begin if discrimination, racism and hatred are not checked and prevented.
Discrimination has not ended, nor has the use of the language of hatred or exclusion. There is still much to do to create a safer future and Holocaust Memorial Day is an opportunity to start this process.’
Tolerance: The Beacon of the Enlightenment
This anthology contains extracts by forty 18thC authors, like Voltaire, who had a passionate commitment to equality, freedom, and tolerance. Each text resonates powerfully with the issues our world faces today.
It was produced in France in response to the Charlie Hebdo shootings. More than 100 students and academics at Oxford University then co-operated to translate the extracts into English. Edited by Caroline Warman, lecturer in French, Tolerance: The Beacon of the Enlightenment was launched at the British Society of Eighteenth Century Studies Annual Conference in January 2016. The Society helped fund its publication.
You can access the text at