We must remember the lessons of history for children’s sake

Tomorrow is Holocaust Memorial Day and this year is especially poignant as it is the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.

Greens stand in solidarity with our Jewish community as we join commemorative events in the city.

I am proud to be an elected representative of a council which stands against racism, anti-semitism and religious hate in all its forms.

But as survivors with their harrowing accounts die, we must not allow the understanding of the atrocities in the death camps to fade.

An astonishing poll conducted by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust tells us that 5 per cent of those polled don’t believe the Holocaust really happened.

Last year’s Home Office figures also tell us that hate crime rose by 10 per cent.

We have a duty to heed the warning of historian Antonio Gramsci, a prisoner of fascist Mussolini, who wrote: “History teaches, but it has no pupils.”

We must remember the lessons of history and pass them on.

This past week we’ve been reminded of the haunting relevance of Holocaust Memorial Day.

Alf Dubs, once a child refugee from Nazi Germany, has pushed for a law to reunite unaccompanied refugee children who are stranded in Europe with their relatives in this country.

Unacceptably, this plea was completely rejected by the Conservative government.

Who are the children that may have been aided by Dubs’ law? The largest groups of refugee children coming to this country are those caught in conflict in Syria, civil war in Sudan, political repression in Iran and Eritrea. All countries, incidentally, sold weapons by the UK.

This week Greens reiterate our city’s offer to house child refugees and call again on the Conservative government to support the safe passage of refugee children.

Local councils around the country have now made 1,400 similar offers. Despite our television screens still flashing to the horrors of war in Syria, the government has failed to listen.

The theme of this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day is Stand Together. Let’s learn the lessons from history and stand together against division and hate.

And when children are fleeing war, prejudice and persecution, let’s welcome them.

Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty is the Green opposition leader on Brighton and Hove City Council.

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