Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, has joined survivors of the Holocaust and more recent genocides to mark the launch of a new digital campaign to commemorate the lives of individuals murdered by the Nazis.
The ‘Stand Together’ online campaign, launched ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January 27, pairs participants with the name of a person murdered by the Nazis, which they can share on social media in a digital act of remembrance.
Names of Jewish people murdered, alongside Roma, gay, disabled people and other groups are included in the project.
When Mrs Abrahams clicked on the Stand Together link – www.hmd.org.uk – she received information about Sol Saltiel, who lived on Thessalonika and was murdered because he was Jewish.
Mrs Abrahams said: “I’m very pleased to Stand Together with Sol and support a campaign that explores how genocidal regimes have deliberately fractured societies by marginalising certain groups, and how these tactics can be challenged.
“There are significant numbers of individuals murdered by the Nazis about whom we know very little and Sol seems to be one of them.
“It is a chilling reminder for us to stop and think carefully about each of the six million or so people who died in the holocaust as individuals, real people with names, jobs, and loved ones.”
Thousands of names have been gathered for the campaign by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, with the support of Yad Vashem.
Other named individuals being remembered include Gyula Sandor from Budapest, who was murdered by the Nazis for being Jewish, and Siegfried Bamberger, murdered by the Nazis for being part of the Roma and Sinti community.
Attendees at the launch event heard remarks from Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, and Rachel Levy BEM, a survivor of the notorious Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps.
Ms Levy, who evaded the Nazis for two years by being hidden in the forest in what was then Czechoslovakia aided by non-Jewish neighbours, was sent to Auschwitz in 1944 and only narrowly escaped being sent to the gas chambers.
She told MPs: “It is important for all of us to stand together in our communities. Members of Parliament and Peers have a responsibility and an opportunity to lead by example.
“We must stand together – in the memory of my family and everyone who was murdered in the Holocaust. We must stand together against division and hate today.”
Holocaust Memorial Day is the annual day of commemoration of the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and more recent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.
Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, said: “With increasing division in communities, now more than ever we need to stand together with others to challenge the spread of identity-based hostility.
“Our Stand Together project is a powerful way for us all to remember people murdered by the Nazis – as individuals with their own hopes, families and friends.
“Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity for us all to learn from genocide, for a better future, and I’d urge everyone to get involved in activities by visiting hmd.org.uk.”
• To mark Holocaust Memorial Day, Saddleworth Peace Group is holding a vigil on Sunday, January 26 at 2pm outside Uppermill Methodist Church.
Guest speakers will include Mayor of Oldham Cllr Ginny Alexander, Chair of Saddleworth Parish Council Cllr Jamie Curley and MP Debbie Abrahams.
There will be an opportunity to take part in an activity based on this year’s theme ‘Stand Together’.
Young people from the Oldham Theatre Workshop and the Oldham Youth Council will give a short performance based on their experiences of their recent visit to Auschwitz.
Tea and coffee will be served inside following the vigil. All welcome.