A Duty to Remember

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Pastor Martin Niemoller


Today is Holocaust Memorial Day.

More than 65 years after the end of World War II some may ask why we should bother reminding ourselves of man’s inhumanity to man.

Well, quite apart from the fact that the Holocaust was the worst example of mass murder in modern recorded history, there is the very reasonable observation that those who ignore or forget their history are doomed to repeat it. A lesson mankind has yet to learn.

never in my name …

Holocaust Memorial Day is about remembering the victims and those whose lives have been changed beyond recognition by the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and the ongoing atrocities today in Darfur.

Holocaust Memorial Day provides us with an opportunity to honour the survivors, but it’s also a chance to look to our own lives and communities today.

Genocide doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a gradual process which begins when the differences between us are not celebrated but used as a reason to exclude or marginalise. By learning from the lessons of the past, we can create a safer, better future.

Tonight, at home in peace and safety, light a candle to say never again and never in my name.