Today, we remember the Holocaust, the murder of 6 million Jewish men, women, and children by the Nazis and their collaborators during the Second World War.
Between 1939 and 1945, Jews across Europe were forced into ghettos, separated from the rest of their towns and villages, starved, beaten, and deported to concentration and death camps where they were murdered. Other communities were killed in streets, forests and ravines close to where they had lived for centuries. The Nazis attempted to kill every Jewish individual throughout Europe and wherever they could be found.
Britain and its allies fought the Nazis and in the final months of the war many soldiers witnessed horrific scenes as they liberated the camps. These memories stayed with them for the rest of their lives, and many veterans were never able to speak about what they saw.
After the war, several survivors having lost parents and siblings, and having experienced unimaginable horrors, eventually came to Britain and rebuilt their lives. These people, who are now in their 80s and 90s, have made amazing contributions to British society, becoming teachers, dentists, architects, actors, business owners and even Olympic champions.
The crimes of the Nazis shook the world, and are remembered every year on Holocaust Memorial Day, 27th January, the day that the notorious concentration and death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, was liberated. On Holocaust Memorial Day, we remember the 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis. We also remember other victims of Nazi persecution, including the Roma and Sinti community, homosexuals, disabled people, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and political opponents. We remember the atrocities of the past, and pledge to ensure that humanity does not repeat the same mistakes again.The Holocaust Educational Trust is the leading UK charity working to raise awareness and to educate about the Holocaust. To find out more visit www.het.org.uk.