Record number of Government departments commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day
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Holocaust Memorial Day

Record number of Government departments commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day

Highest ever tally of politicians and civil servants throughout Whitehall gather in London for HMD events to hear from survivors

Environment Secretary Michael Gove, survivor Hannah Lewis and Home Secretary Amber Rudd at a joint Home Office-DEFRA event for Holocaust Memorial Day 2018
Environment Secretary Michael Gove, survivor Hannah Lewis and Home Secretary Amber Rudd at a joint Home Office-DEFRA event for Holocaust Memorial Day 2018

Over 20 government departments commemorated Holocaust Memorial Day this year, more than any year previous.

At least one minister appeared at 15 events covering more than 20 departments as civil servants, MPs and advisers remembered the millions of people killed in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.

Highlights included Susan Pollack, who experienced the horrors of Auschwitz-Birkenau and Bergen-Belsen, sharing a platform with Yamina Karitanyi, Rwandan High Commissioner, at the Department for International Development.

Oliver Dowden MP, newly appointed as Permanent Secretary at the Cabinet Office, introduced his constituent Harry Spiro, witnessing a spontaneous round of applause to congratulate Spiro on his recently-awarded British Empire Medal.

Elsewhere Mala Tribich addressed the Ministry of Defence about her liberation from Bergen-Belsen in 1945, while Home Secretary Amber Rudd and Environment Secretary Michael Gove attended a joint Home Office-DEFRA event to hear from survivor Hannah Lewis.

“We must remain ever vigilant to the threat of extremism and anti-Semitism, and Harry’s words were a powerful reminder to people serving the Government,” said Dowden.

“Each story is different, but what they have in common is not only the depravity of the Nazi regime, but also the enduring sense of the human spirit.”

Michael Livingston of the Civil Service Jewish Network said: “I am passionate about ensuring that as many people in government have the opportunity to hear the testimony of those who survived the Holocaust and Nazi Persecution. These opportunities sadly grow ever fewer.”

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