The poignant story of a Dutch survivor was the centrepiece of the main Scottish HMD ceremony, held in Stirling.
Dr Alfred Munzer said he was taken in by a neighbouring family — later honoured by Yad Vashem. His two sisters, aged six and eight, were housed by another family but turned in by the husband. Both died in Auschwitz.
Although his parents survived the camps, his father died two months after being liberated. “I often wonder how many Nobel Prize-winners lie among the ashes of the death camps,” Dr Munzer told the 300 guests. “I think about all the nieces and nephews and time with my family I missed out on because of these senseless killings. But the real tragedy for me is not how many people died. It is that we have not learned and it [genocide] still goes on today.”
Representing the Scottish Government, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said the programme — also featuring survivors of Rwandan and Cambodian genocides — was “incredibly moving and, above all, a strong lesson in the strengths of humanity.” She went on to pay tribute to the contribution of the 400 Kindertransport survivors who had settled in Scotland, some of whom were at the event.
Elsewhere, Newton Mearns Reform Synagogue held a special service on Shabbat for local dignitaries at which Reform Movement senior rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner led the prayers.
Claire Singerman of the Gathering the Voices project read the story of her mother-in-law Susan. The 19-year-old Hungarian and most of her family were sent to Auschwitz in 1944 but she was the only one who survived beyond the first day.