CAROLINE ANSELL MP: Holocaust remembrance, and a busy week at Westminster
This week saw the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in then Nazi-occupied Poland by the Red Army.
No word has a greater infamy in the 20th century than Auschwitz, where an estimated 1.1 million people were murdered in gas chambers or worked to death or tortured in medical experiments – many of them children.
The commemoration of what happened in that place and of all the victims of the Holocaust is vitally important and received the international attention it deserved on Monday, but we must fear that soon it will be beyond living memory and there will be no one to bear witness to what happened there or in other concentration camps.
Around 2,000 Auschwitz survivors are thought to still be alive and many of them are in their 80s, 90s or 100s.
Their stories of survival and of hope are of incredible importance to following generations.
Last week I attended our local commemorative event at The Welcome Building and how extraordinary it is, that we have in our midst, Holocaust survivor, now Eastbourne local, the incomparable Dorit Oliver-Wolff, a lady I have the honour to call my friend.
Dorit is now in her mid-80s and was given an MBE in the recent New Year Honours List for services to Holocaust education and awareness.
Dorit was the guest speaker at my Ian Gow schools’ competition in November where she spoke so passionately about how precious our democracy is.
It’s been a hugely busy week in the Mother of all Parliaments on other fronts too.
I’ve had a run of quite divergent meetings - amongst others, with Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner, on how we are going to support families, with the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisation about the future of our waters and with the Speaker of the House.
If you’re reading this today, Friday, then of course this week will also see us leaving the European Union.
That Brexit has been divisive for our country needs no rehearsal, but as we leave, I would just make a plea for everyone, on all sides of this debate, to get behind our country as it makes this momentous change.
I believe we will make a success as Global Britain whatever challenges we face
And to complete the new chapter theme, I’ll be joining members of the Eastbourne and District Chinese Community this weekend to celebrate Chinese New Year!