Local MP returns from 'harrowing' visit to Auschwitz

October 27, 2009 2:55 PM
Mark at Auschwitz

Mark at Auschwitz

Last Thursday 22nd October Cheadle MP Mark Hunter returned from a one-day visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau organised by the Holocaust Educational Trust to explore the universal lessons of the Holocaust and its relevance today.

Mr Hunter was part of an all party group of MP's and some 200 college students who learned more about what actually happened at Auschwitz-Birkenau and the atrocities committed by the Nazis. The visiting group took the opportunity to pay their respects to those who had lost their lives there and were shown around the camps, barracks and crematoria.

The visit was a unique opportunity to see what happened at Auschwitz-Birkenau, to pay respect to those who lost their lives, and to explore the universal lessons of the Holocaust. The group was shown around the camp's barracks and crematoria, and witnessed the registration documents of inmates, piles of hair, shoes, clothes and other items seized by the Nazis.

Mark and the group were then taken the short distance to Birkenau where a memorial and candle-lighting service was held to remember the 6 million Jews, and the Roma, Sinti, gay, disabled, black people, and other victims of the Nazis killed in the Holocaust.

Commenting, Mark said:

"Nobody should underestimate the importance of visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau and recognising the full extent of the Holocaust.

"These events may have taken place over 60 years ago but as our society bears witness; we need to continue to teach the lessons of the Holocaust to the younger generations in order to fight bigotry and hatred today.

"Many members of our group commented on the coincidence of our visit and the appearance of BNP leader Nick Griffin on BBC's Question Time on the same day. On arriving back in the UK, it was gut-wrenching to see Griffin on the TV monitors at the airport smirking over his denial of the Holocaust.

"I hope that educational visits like this will ensure that the lessons of the Holocaust are truly learnt, disseminated and acted upon. We must continue to work hard to reject racism and defend the rich cultural diversity of our country."

Karen Pollock, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust said:

"We are delighted that Mark Hunter MP joined us on the visit. The HET's 'Lessons from Auschwitz' Project is such a vital part of our work because it gives students the chance to understand more the dangers and potential effects of prejudice and racism today on a local and national scale.

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