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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Meeting of the Parliament (Virtual) 26 January 2021

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, Covid-19, Scotland’s Vision for Trade, University of St. Andrews (Degrees in Medicine and Dentistry) Bill: Stage 1, Post-mortem Examinations (Defence Time Limit) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1, Decision Time


Contents


Time for Reflection

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

[Inaudible.]—our proceedings, as we always do, with time for reflection, for which our leaders are Lucy Craven and Zuzanna Wisniewska, who are lessons from Auschwitz ambassadors with the Holocaust Educational Trust.

Lucy Craven (Lessons from Auschwitz Ambassador, Holocaust Educational Trust)

Hello. My name is Lucy Craven, and I am speaking to you today with Zuzia Wisniewska. We are former students of Knox academy and we are here to share our reflections on learning about the Holocaust and its contemporary relevance through taking part in the Holocaust Educational Trust’s lessons from Auschwitz project.

As part of the project, we were fortunate to hear the first-hand testimony of Holocaust survivor Eva Clarke BEM. Eva told us that she was born in Mauthausen concentration camp just days before it was liberated. She also spoke about her parents’ experiences of camps and ghettos. Although Eva and her mother survived, both her father and her brother were murdered.

Hearing Eva’s testimony enabled me to rehumanise the 6 million Jewish men, women and children who were murdered in the Holocaust. When we visited the site of the former Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, Eva’s experiences stayed with me the whole time. As I walked along the railway track at the entrance to the camp, I thought of the journey that her mother and father would have made.

We must see beyond the numbers and remember that the victims of the Holocaust were people, the same as you and me, who had their lives cruelly taken away.

Zuzanna Wisniewska (Lessons from Auschwitz Ambassador, Holocaust Educational Trust)

Before visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau, I did not know what to expect. Once there, I found it hard to comprehend that I was standing at the site that I had learned about, at which more than a million people had been murdered.

Once we had returned home, I began to grasp the importance of visiting such a site and its contemporary relevance. I began thinking about my role in ensuring that the Holocaust is never forgotten. Lucy and I decided that we wanted to share what we had learned and to encourage other students at our school to remember the Holocaust. We chose to deliver a reflective lesson to a junior class, looking at pre-war Jewish life and photographs of the communities that were torn apart and destroyed by the Holocaust.

It is important that young people ensure that the testimonies of survivors such as Eva Clarke are never forgotten. Such experiences serve as a reminder of what can happen when hate is left unchallenged.

This year, Holocaust memorial day’s theme is “Be the light in the darkness”. We will stand against hatred only when we choose to be kind and choose to be the light.

The Presiding Officer

Thank you very much, Lucy and Zuzanna. I am sorry that you were not able to join us in person because of the restrictions this year. That was a very powerful contribution. Thank you.