National Holocaust Memorial Day 2005

Holocaust Memorial Day logoJanuary 27th 2005 is National Holocaust Memorial Day. The theme this year is "Survivors, Liberation and Rebuilding Lives ". It also marks the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the extermination and concentration camps, and presents an opportunity to show our respect for the survivors of Nazi persecution and genocide, and to listen to what they can tell us about the best and the worst of human behaviour.

To mark the day, a few secondary schools in Gloucestershire will be priveleged to host a visit by a British Holocaust survivor, Leon Greenman, now in his 95th year.

But all schools can listen to Leon talking about his experiences through the audio files made available on this website.

Leon Greenman - a life torn apart

Leon Greenman was born in London in 1910, but was living in Holland at the time of the Nazi occupation. He survived Auschwitz - but on arrival there lost his beloved wife, Else, and three year old son, Barney, to the gas chambers. He did not later remarry, but, instead, devoted his long life, post-Holocaust, to keeping alive the memory of those 6 million who died, endeavouring to inform the young and prevent such a dreadful thing ever happening again. This relentless reliving of his experiences must be at great personal cost to him, and we should play our part by listening, responding, and contributing to keeping alive memories for the young.

Leon has written a book "An Englishman in Auschwitz" ISBN 0 85303 424 9. Available from www.vmbooks.com. Read his life story on the Moving Here website

"Young and old alike must learn about the Holocaust as warning against the dangers of racism. There is no difference in colour or religion. If I had survived to betray the dead it would have been better not to survive. We must not forget. Please do not forget".

Schools can use his talk, and other resources, in the curriculum, for example, as an inspiration for poetry writing, for which iRespect provides lesson plans by teacher Stuart Butler, Brockworth Enterprise School.

Auschwitz was liberated 60 years ago. Read an article about a recent visit to Auschwitz, 'Auschwitz in Colour', in the latest issue of the Race Equality Newsletter for Schools.  Secondary schools in Gloucestershire who would like more information on resources available, based around this personal visit, are welcome to contact Dee Russell-Thomas at CIRCLE, Tel: 01452-427261

Though the majority of those exterminated in the Holocaust were Jewish, we must not forget the others persecuted: homosexuals, the disabled, and Gypsies, to name some persecuted groups.

Roma, or Gypsies, are an ethnic group who have experienced some of the worst and most long standing discrimination, prejudice, and racism in our history.

Holocaust Memorial Day provides a unique opportunity for teachers  to encourage young people to reflect upon the past, and make a personal commitment to active citizenship, and to combat racism in all its forms, wherever they may meet it.

Individual action, however small, makes a difference. This is a day to make a personal commitment.

For more information on Holocaust Memorial Day please visit the website .