‘We must learn from the past to create a safer future’

January 27, 2019

NEVER FORGET: This exhibition at Poole Museum celebrating Holocaust Memorial Day came the same day as it was revealed the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust commissioned a survey that found one in 20 UK adults denied that it took place. Holocaust survivor Steven Frank told a national newspaper: “The only way to fight this kind of denial is with the truth. If we ignore the past, I fear history will repeat itself.”



HOLOCAUST Memorial Day took place today across Dorset, Somerset and the rest of the country but how many knew it was actually taking place.

At short notice, I went a mini exhibition that had been put together at Poole Museum and I took the trouble to go down and see it and it was with some regret to say that with one other person apart, I had the stall to myself to ponder in silence particularly given what is happening right now in different parts of the world.

There is a saying that people will perish through lack of knowledge and ignorance if they grasp basic concepts of history.

Why do I say this? Well coinciding with this exhibition and others across the region, a study commissioned by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust shockingly found that one in 20 UK adults denied that the death camps of Baden Baden, Auschwitz, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen and others never existed. It was widely reported across media platforms, both mainstream, independent and alternative.

Holocaust survivor Steven Frank has been reported in a national publication as saying: “The only way to fight this kind of denial is with the truth. If we ignore the past, I fear history will repeat itself.”

The exhibition featured identification pass, a suitcase, a boarding pass and travel documents that would be the entire contents of an orphaned child of the Kindertransport that was used to rescue 10,000 Jewish and other vulnerable minority children from the Nazis from occupied Austria, German, Poland and Czechoslovakia (modern-day Czech Republic and Slovakia).

The children who came to the UK were expecting to come on a temporary basis but tragically for most of them, they would never see their parents again.

On the display, Sir Ben Helfgost, a Holocaust Survivor, says: “I was there as a child aged nine in the ghetto. Aged 19 I was in the Concentration Camp. We must tell people what happened. No child should go through what I did.”

There was of course much focus on the Holocaust of the Jews but other genocide atrocities were referred to including those in Rwanda involving the war between the Hutus and Tutsi tribes and the massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srbrenica, Bosnia.

However, much as this was very good to see this exhibition for public access, there was no reference disappointingly for the genocide committed by Daesh on the Druze, Christian and Yazidi minorities in Syria and Iraq and the 1915 Genocide of Armenians by the former Ottoman empire.

The date of 27 January marks the day when the biggest concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenhau, the largest Nazi death camp.

A spokesman said: “HMD is for everyone. Each year across the UK thousands come together to learn more about the past and take action to create a safer future.

“We know they learn more, empathize more and do more. Together we bear witness for those who endured genocide and all those whose lives changed beyond recognition.”

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