Holocaust Memorial Day
It was a privilege to lead today for the Scottish National Party (SNP) in a debate at Westminster to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
The community I represent is a diverse, vibrant one, and we are the better for that. As home to a large Jewish community, we have particular cause to reflect on the horrors of the Holocaust, and to remember all those lost.
I was glad to mention the excellent work of local schools including Calderwood Lodge, Barrhead High and Mearns Castle High on Holocaust Education, and the important work of organisations inclusing the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities - SCoJeC and Glasgow Jewish Representative Council - GJRC in making our community stronger and fairer.
It was good to hear local resident Henry Wuga in the radio this morning, and I spoke about the remarkable work he, along with his late wife Ingrid, and Judith Rosenburg, among many others have done for Holocaust Education, by sharing their experience and their testimony with so very many young people, to ensure they are educated, and can learn from the past.
I also mentioned Jane Haining, a personal hero of mine, and the only Scot to be named at Yad Vashem: World Holocaust Center, Jerusalem, as Rigteous Among Nations. Jane was a Matron in a Church of Scotland School in Budapest, and she refused to leave the Jewish girls she cared for, resulting in her being transported to Auschwitz where she died. She said: "If they needed me in days of sunshine, how much more must they need me in days of darkness".
Jane's attitude is worth reflecting upon. In good times, it's easy to say you're standing up against intolerance. It's harder to do when things get sticky, but that's when it really matters.
We always need to remember those lost. Not just the unbelievable numbers, but the individual people - mums and dads, children, and families. And we need to reflect upon why this happened if we are to prevent history repeating itself. Not only on Holocaust memorial Day, but all year round.