Today, I was at the Town Hall in Birmingham to take part in the Holocaust Memorial Day service, reading a poem I had written for it. It was very moving to hear the stories of survivors of Auschwitz and Bosnia. I have found learning about the Holocaust in school, and the reality behind it, are two very different things. It is impossible for me to truly understand what these people have gone through, no matter how much I am taught about the facts surrounding the events. I can’t comprehend the overwhelming scale of the acts of genocide, and how many lives they have affected, but I also cannot imagine the extent of the suffering of each individual. What I find equally hard to realise is that we haven’t left these horrific occurrences behind us, to be part of our history only. For example, in Dafur, people are still being persecuted due to others thinking themselves superior. How can we have seen these atrocities occur before, but not change our attitudes and the way we act to prevent it happening again?
It is so important to not only remember the Holocaust, but to learn from these memories and change the way we act for the better, and I’m glad to have been a part of this remembrance service.