VOICE OF THE JEWISH NEWS: Heroes and villains

VOICE OF THE JEWISH NEWS: Heroes and villains

Stephen is the Jewish News' Foreign Editor

Voice of the Jewish News
Voice of the Jewish News
Voice of the Jewish News
Voice of the Jewish News

by Stephen Oryszczuk

What to put in our newspaper?

It is our perpetual editorial dilemma: what prominence to give what stories? What to tell, what to miss, and how much space to give to each?

This week, the quieter, more dignified voices had to be heard.

The Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge all paid their respects and stressed the need to keep alive the memory of the Nazi atrocities.

The Duke’s message, first issued to Jewish News on the morning of Holocaust Memorial Day, was particularly significant given that this was his first public statement on the Shoah. It’s heartening for the future to hear the second in the line to the throne following in his father’s footsteps in speaking out on this issue. No one should doubt how relevant the lessons of the Shoah remain. “The Holocaust didn’t come out of nowhere,” said Olivia Marks-Woldman of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.

How true. It’s absolutely right we should also applaud our political leaders, who all signed up to the recommendations of the Holocaust Commission. But David Cameron’s words and actions in establishing that Commission make him particularly deserving of our thanks – regardless of our faith or nationality. It’s long been clear that, for Cameron, this project was far from everyday Government.

This was personal, the more so after his recent visit to Auschwitz. Whatever happens in May, the new memorial and learning centre will be one of his greatest contributions to his country. But he didn’t do this alone and huge appreciation must go to the leading figures from politics, the media and showbusiness, headed by Mick Davis, who devoted so much time to this crucial work over the past year. Amid the rightful considerable media coverage and debate, this week on BBC’s Big Questions it was discussed whether it was time for the Holocaust to be “laid to rest”, as polls in Germany this week showed large numbers felt it was.

The answer, from Cameron and others, was that the lessons remain as relevant today as ever. Herein lies the crucial point. Part of what we mean when we say “never again” is never forgetting, never forgiving, never resetting, and never “moving on”.

How can you, we would ask, when six million Jews and others never had the chance to? Education is working and now is the time to expand it, prioritise it, and reflect it in identities that have been shaped by the horror we learn.

The new inititaives from the Holocaust Commission can’t come to fruition soon enough.

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