Duncan Smith: children must see Auschwitz

By Leon Symons, September 7, 2010
Mr Duncan Smith and Mr Levinson

Mr Duncan Smith and Mr Levinson

A trip to Auschwitz earlier this year led the Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith to present an award to a Holocaust survivor.

Mr Duncan Smith presented one of two certificates to 93-year-old Lithuanian Josef Levinson, who has single-handedly identified and organised memorials for more than 200 mass graves and cemeteries of Jews in the Baltic country over the past 30 years.

In May, Mr Duncan Smith joined a Holocaust Educational Trust one-day trip to the former death camp.

"I think the Auschwitz trip is a very critical process. It's a great reminder of why we have to battle against antisemitism. There was a general sense that I ought to be there to see it," said Mr Duncan Smith, after the presentation ceremony at the Central Synagogue in London's West End. He wrote an emotional article about his visit on the Conservative Home website.

The MP was a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Antisemitism that produced a ground-breaking report in 2006.

Earlier, Mr Duncan Smith told an audience of 250 people, including a number of other Holocaust survivors, that "every child should go to Auschwitz so that they understand what happens when you lose your sense of the idea of humanity, that renders humans in a way that is worse than vermin".

Mr Duncan Smith presented Mr Levinson with a certificate on behalf of fellow Holocaust survivors for his work in memorialising Lithuanian Jewry, while Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor presented him with a second certificate recognising his efforts in identifying and marking the mass graves and cemeteries.

Last updated: 9:23am, September 8 2010