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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Meeting of the Parliament 25 January 2022

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, Covid-19, Junior Minister, Transvaginal Mesh Removal (Cost Reimbursement) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Transvaginal Mesh Removal (Cost Reimbursement) (Scotland) Bill, Parliamentary Bureau Motion, Decision Time, Point of Order, My Breath is My Life


Time for Reflection

Good afternoon. I remind members of the Covid-related measures that are in place, and that face coverings should be worn when moving around the chamber and across the Holyrood campus.

The first item of business is time for reflection. Our leaders are Sarah Bateman and Andrei Martin, who are Holocaust Educational Trust ambassadors.

Hello. Sarah Bateman and I are ambassadors for the Holocaust Educational Trust. Last year, we participated in the “Lessons from Auschwitz” online project as pupils from Kilsyth academy. We heard from Holocaust survivors, saw Auschwitz-Birkenau via virtual reality and shared what we learned with our school.

I wanted to take part in the project because, through my growing up with Jewish grandparents, the Holocaust was always something that I was aware of from hearing about memorials at their synagogue, so I understood how important it is to remember it.

Andrei Martin

I wanted to take part because the Holocaust is an incredibly important and devastating part of human history, and we must learn from it in order to prevent anything like it from ever happening again.

The most important part of the project for me was my speaking to Holocaust survivor Janine Webber BEM. I was particularly struck by the photos that she showed us of her family before the Holocaust, which made her story seem so much more real. Before the project, we both knew various facts and figures about the Holocaust, but until we heard Janine’s story, we had never truly understood their gravity. That is why it is so important for young people to hear from survivors and to pass on their stories.

For our “Next steps” project, we gave a presentation that summarised what we had learned to several classes in our school. I shared how the Holocaust affected Jewish people all across Europe, but I also talked about the diversity of pre-war Jewish life, which is a really important aspect of humanising the Holocaust.

I focused on the contemporary relevance of the Holocaust, as well as on passing on parts of Janine Webber’s story and orchestrating an activity around the individual Jewish experience. That helped us to shift the focus away from statistics and, instead, to see those who were impacted as individual people.

That leads us to this year’s Holocaust memorial day theme, which is “One Day”. One day cannot tell the whole story, but remembering just one day during the Holocaust can be a gateway to realising that no one person who was affected by it was the same afterwards.

As ambassadors, we look forward to continuing our work to ensure that the 6 million Jewish men, women and children who were murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators are remembered.

Sarah Bateman

Thank you, Presiding Officer, for giving us the opportunity to share our experience today, and thank you all for listening.