William Hague has pledged that the British government will “take an active approach” to Holocaust education.
The Foreign Secretary said he was determined to encourage a “wider public understanding of the history of 1933-1945, and the lessons to be drawn” and called on other countries to do the same.
Mr Hague, who visited Israel’s Holocaust memorial museum Yad Vashem last November, said: “This will be done through a more co-ordinated effort to bring justice and assistance to Holocaust victims.
“The government will…continue to challenge racism and antisemitism, and promote the human rights of all people across the world. I call upon other states to do the same.”
Speaking on the first Holocaust Memorial Day since the coalition was formed, he added: “It is vital to educate future generations of the evils of that period in history and of the consequences of allowing intolerance and hatred to flourish.”
This year’s Holocaust Memorial Day, which marks the anniversary of the Red Army’s liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp, is dedicated to recalling the “untold stories” of the victims of genocide. Mr Hague said it was crucial to learn the lessons of the Holocaust and genocides in Cambodia, Bosnia and Rwanda.
His comments were echoed by Sir Andrew Burns, who was appointed as the UK’s first envoy for post-Holocaust issues last year.
Sir Andrew praised the Holocaust survivors who “still so readily share their memories and experiences , ” but pointed out that their numbers are diminishing.
He said: “It is heartening to know that there are so many teachers and educators in this country who ensure year round that we never lose our collective memory of those times and that we all, and particularly the younger generations, understand the need to be always on the watch to prevent any resurgence of racial, religious and ethnic prejudice.”
For more on Holocaust Memorial Day 2011 see our dedicated HMD page