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Press Release: Kirsten Oswald Warns Against Complacency in Tackling Scourge of Anti-Semitism

The SNP has marked Holocaust Memorial Day, warning that we must not be complacent in tackling the scourge of anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination, intolerance and hatred.

Leading for the SNP in a debate in the House of Commons on Holocaust Memorial Day, East Renfrewshire MP Kirsten Oswald recounted testimonies shared by Holocaust survivors in East Renfrewshire and highlighted the importance of hearing their voices to ensure their stories are preserved for future generations to learn from.

Kirsten joined pupils at Calderwood Lodge Primary School as they heard from Hedi Argent, whose very ordinary childhood in Vienna was turned upside down one day, just because she and her family were Jewish. Hedi spoke of the personal impact on her of one friend who stood with her against the tide of hate, demonstrating, as Hedi says, that the right thing is not always the easiest.

Kirsten also attended a Holocaust Memorial Day event organised by East Renfrewshire Council at which the family of the late Reverend and Eva Zoltan told of their parents’ experience during the holocaust, made all the more chilling because clearly life had moved quite quickly from just day to day, to terrible, unimaginable horror.

The party's Westminster Deputy leader warned that as politicians and lawmakers, it was incumbent upon MPs to stand up and be counted in challenging the stain of hatred and bigotry.

Kirsten said:

"Holocaust Memorial Day serves as a constant and important reminder of the horrors and injustice of the past and a warning to ensure that we never allow it to be repeated ever again.

"East Renfrewshire is home to the majority of Scotland's Jewish population. We are a diverse vibrant community, and we are so very much the better for it. I am fortunate where I live that I have witnessed positive discussions and work within the community is happening in the most powerful way.

"I have listened to Holocaust survivors in East Renfrewshire recount their harrowing experiences. It is vital that we hear their voices and amplify them so that their stories are preserved, and so future generations can learn from what happened.

"However, the rising levels of intolerance, hatred, and populist divisiveness - which is fanned online but exists in real life too - is cause for concern. As politicians, we have a duty and crucial role in ensuring that whenever hate and anti-Semitism appears we act and we root it out.

"It is easy and unchallenging to speak out in the good times. Raising our voice or standing up when things are harder is what we need to be committed to doing. And we need to do that every day.

"We must make sure that 'never again' is more than just rhetoric – and that we act to make sure it never happens again."


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