I was delighted to host a reception for the Holocaust Educational Trust in the Scottish Parliament this week to raise awareness of the valuable work that the Holocaust Educational Trust undertakes in Scotland and to celebrate the work of young people across Scotland, acknowledging their efforts to reach out to their communities and share what they have learnt about the Holocaust. The lessons of the past and the importance of tolerance and understanding are as relevant today as they ever have been, particularly in a world that is constantly changing.
The work that the Holocaust Educational Trust does through the Lesson from Auschwitz project and from listening to the testimony of Holocaust survivors, allows young people to share what they have learnt with their peers and in their communities. It was a pleasure to celebrate the work of these young ambassadors in spreading a positive message of compassion and humanity.
The HET’s Lesson’s from Auschwitz Project is one that is personally close to my heart – I helped raise awareness of the Project in schools and local authorities across Scotland and I was on the very first visit with Scottish school pupils. Now in its 17th year HET has taken more than 31,000 students and teachers from across the UK to the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. The project aims to increase knowledge and understanding of the Holocaust based on the premise that “hearing is not like seeing” and to signal what can happen if prejudice and racism become acceptable.
As well as welcoming many Holocaust Educational Trust Ambassadors, I was delighted to introduce some special speakers including Henry Wuga, a Holocaust survivor who shared his story with us, and Laura Pasternak and Samuel Oyewusi, two Holocaust Educational Trust Ambassadors who spoke with passion about their experiences in Auschwitz-Birkenau.
I have met some of the most inspirational people who against the odds survived the atrocities of the Holocaust. I want to thank all those involved with the Holocaust Educational Trust for the important work they do.