Stand up and be counted

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The theme for this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day on Wednesday, January 27, is Don’t stand by.

At more than 3,500 events across the country, hundreds of thousands of people will hear about bystanders, those whose silence and indifference allowed dreadful persecution, and ultimately genocides to take place.

We will honour the rescuers and resisters, people who not only saved individuals, but who took action against bigotry and hatred.

We know that silence and indifference in the face of discrimination and hatred allows persecution to take root, so we want to encourage people to stand up and speak out, in the way many brave souls have in the past.

As well as taking a stand in our own communities here in the UK today, we also need to be mindful of the fact that genocide is continuing in Darfur, where thousands of people have been murdered and millions have been forced to flee to makeshift refugee camps.

We all need to reflect on the fact that the path to genocide begins with exclusion and discrimination, and that standing by allows hatred to take hold.

In our film for Holocaust Memorial Day 2016, Susan Pollack, a survivor of the Holocaust, tells for the first time a surprising and unique story of surviving genocide.

Please, visit dontstandby.hmd.org.uk , share the film using social media, and sign up to our Thunderclap, so that Susan’s story is shared as widely as possible at 1pm on January 27.

Olivia Marks-Woldman

Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust