In learning from the horrors of the Holocaust and the genocides which followed, we can all recommit to the vital principles of freedom of conscience, generosity of spirit, and care for others that are the surest defences of hope.
I would like to offer a heartfelt welcome to the 2023 Holocaust Memorial Day National Commemoration.
This annual commemoration is a truly profound occasion in which the United Kingdom comes together to remember those who were murdered, to honour those who survived, and to resolve to work to ensure that the horrors of the past never happen again.
The theme for this year's Holocaust Memorial Day – Ordinary People – reminds us how it was ordinary people who were the perpetrators, bystanders, rescuers, and witnesses to the Holocaust, and its victims. Ultimately, we are all ordinary people, each of us with a role to play and a responsibility to use our gifts for the benefit – not destruction – of our world and humankind. Over many years, I have been deeply touched to have met so many Holocaust survivors, all of them extraordinary people who faced unimaginable horror.
Their strength and determination to share their testimonies is an inspiration to us all. These are people who, despite having suffered so much, have gone on to live the most incredible, flourishing lives in the United Kingdom, and made a remarkable contribution to British society and public life.
This year, for the first time, I visited Rwanda and the Kigali Genocide Memorial. I was moved beyond words by the resilience and grace of the Rwandan people. I will never forget my meeting with survivors and perpetrators who, despite their appalling experiences, now live side by side in a reconciliation village.
As the country gathers to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2023, we should all renew our commitment to work for a world free from identity-based persecution and violence. Prejudice is always seeking out new victims to demonise, to denounce and, ultimately, to destroy. We must make sure that it never succeeds. There is no stronger antidote to division than an appreciation of diversity. That is why I am so proud to see the rich diversity of the United Kingdom displayed in the range of groups taking part in Holocaust Memorial Day.
The invaluable work of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust ensures the testimony and experiences of survivors are shared with millions of people. In learning from the horrors of the Holocaust and the genocides which followed, we can all recommit to the vital principles of freedom of conscience, generosity of spirit, and care for others that are the surest defences of hope.