27th January 2010 – Holocaust Memorial Day – marks the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

HMD 2010 offers an opportunity to listen to the voices from the Holocaust and Nazi persecution, and to make the lessons of hope for a safer, inclusive society where the differences between us are respected a reality today and in the future.

Holocaust survivors have played an immense role in bringing our attention to the lessons of the Holocaust. They speak of pain and loss, of strength and survival, of despair and their wish for a Legacy of Hope. They encourage us to look within and without, to be sure of our moral compass, to be certain of our choices and to use our voice, whenever we can, to speak out. They have translated difficult experiences to create a future that is free from the dangers of exclusion and persecution. They have passed a message of resilience and hope to the next generation.

Our responsibility is to remember those who were persecuted and murdered, because their lives were wasted. Our challenge is to make the experience and words of the victims and survivors of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides a meaningful part of our future. The aspirations of those who have suffered from the effects of the Holocaust and of genocide around the world, should inform our lives today. Their words can make us think about our own attitudes, our behaviour, our choices, the way we vote, the way we interact with one another, the way we respect and celebrate the differences between us and the way in which we build a safer future together. It is their example that can inspire us to greater action. We need to ask ourselves what we should be doing today to build a safer, stronger society so that the risk of the building blocks of genocide ever being laid is removed.

As humanitarian activist Hugo Slim says of the voices that speak out of tragedy to our shared sense of humanity: “We need to listen, for a change.”

Courtesy of HMD