David Cameron has signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment , saying: “Your work is absolutely vital in making sure that we always remember what happened in the Holocaust – and that we never stop learning the lessons.”
The Prime Minister added:
“We commemorate the lives lost in the European Holocaust and think also of those killed more recently in Rwanda, Cambodia, Dafur and Bosnia.
“The tragedy is that so many did suffer from persecution and prejudice, but your work will make sure we never give up this fight and build a better world.
“With good wishes for Holocaust Memorial Day and for all you do.”
The Book is placed in the House of Commons each year in the run up to Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January.
Each year has a theme to provide a focus for educational and commemorative events nationally and locally.
In 2013 it is Communities Together: Build a Bridge, honouring those communities that have been destroyed by genocide, and reflecting on the importance of coming together to oppose prejudice and hatred.
The Prime Minister was joined at the signing by Holocaust survivor Freda Wineman.
Freda was born in France and moved with her family to Sarreguemines, near the French border with Germany.
In August 1939 the family were arrested before they could go into hiding and were sent to Drancy transit camp on the outskirts of Paris.
From Drancy, the whole family were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Freda’s mother and younger brother were sent to the gas chambers as soon as they arrived. Freda was tattooed with the number A.7181 and soon after was forced to work sorting the belongings of those who had been murdered.
After the Sonderkommando revolt in October 1944, Freda was taken from Auschwitz to Bergen-Belsen, where she remained until February 1945. From there she was sent to Raguhn and, later, to Theresienstadt until she was liberated by the Russian army in May 1945
After liberation, Freda discovered that her parents and her brother, Marcel, had been killed. Her brothers David and Armand had both survived and she was repatriated to France in June 1945 to be reunited with them.
Lessons from Auschwitz
Joining Freda and the Prime Minister were William Pinder and Hannah Hardman, Students at St. Cecilia’s, Wandsworth Church of England School, and Gameli Ladzekpo, student at University College London. William, Hannah and Gameli have all taken part in HET’s Lessons from Auschwitz project, which sees school pupils take two afternoon seminars and a one-day visit to the former Nazi extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau in order to then pass on the lessons in their schools and communities.
Also present were Paul Phillips, Chairman, Holocaust Educational Trust; Lord Hunt of Wirral , Vice President, Holocaust Educational Trust; and Karen Pollock, Chief Executive, Holocaust Educational Trust.