Keeping memories alive

Survivor Iby Knill reads her poem I Was There at the Parliamentary launch of Holocaust Memorial Day 2015

Survivor Iby Knill reads her poem I Was There at the Parliamentary launch of Holocaust Memorial Day 2015

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles wants Britons to "keep the memory alive" in next year's Holocaust Memorial Day.

Mr Pickles was joined by MPs, peers and survivors at a Parliamentary event on Monday where he unveiled plans for HMD 2015.

"The fact of remembering people - and not just the numbers - is in itself an act of defiance," he said. "It is very fitting that the theme is 'keep the memory alive'. We cannot allow the magnitude of what happened to overcome us. The evil of the Holocaust is with us even today."

Next January's commemoration will mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, and the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica, Bosnia.

Iby Knill, who survived Auschwitz and a death march, gave an emotional reading of her poem, I Was There.

"I don't know why I survived and so many died," she said. "Maybe I survived to keep the memory alive and speak to you? I have faith in the young people of today that they will listen."

Guests at the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust event also heard from Safet Vukali, a Bosnian Muslim who survived the ethnic cleansing of his home city of Prijedor. His father and brother were imprisoned in concentration camps by Bosnian Serb troops.

In keeping with the theme, Finchley and Golders Green MP Mike Freer urged members of the public to find out about the life, family and friendships of a Holocaust victim.

    Last updated: 12:07pm, April 11 2014