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Why remembering the Holocaust and subsequent Genocides shouldn’t be confined to one day only.

By Emma Bayley Melendez, Youth and Community Outreach Officer for Survivors Tribune

Holocaust Memorial Day only comes around once a year on the 27th January but for me the significance and importance of remembering the Holocaust and subsequent Genocides shouldn’t be confined to one day. Being a Youth and Community Outreach Officer, shows a commitment to keeping the testimonies of those who have been the victim of such atrocities in people’s minds. I have been planning an event for Holocaust Memorial Day and this for me is a way to educate people through the power of words. Education is one of best ways to prevent atrocities, when we learn about other people’s cultures, religious beliefs and heritages we realise that our differences should be celebrated as opposed to being used against us.

Genocide survivors’ stories are so incredibly useful, as tools to help us understand periods of time where such atrocities have taken place. It is much easier to relate to individual testimonies, through listening to an individual’s testimony we can humanise the large statistics that are used to highlight the scale of a genocide or holocaust. When I visited Auschwitz, and saw an exhibit which had a wall full of photos of only a tiny proportion of those affected by the Holocaust I remember finding a photo that I would mentally bring back with me when I came back to England. Even though I visited early in 2016, I can still vividly remember this photo.

I hope to develop my role in the future by working closely with Survivors Tribune to deliver talks to younger audiences. This will be incredibly beneficial, whilst genocides and holocausts are naturally sensitive topics to discuss with audiences; I believe it is fundamental to do so to ensure that people are informed enough to speak out against present and future atrocities.

As George Santayana said, “those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. For me this is very true and the reason that I have been proactive in engaging with Holocaust education through working with organisations such as Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and Survivors Tribune is because of how dangerous it is to forget the past. Through such organisations I have met many inspiring individuals who have such varied experiences of such atrocities, as a result I have become more informed and have a greater desire to ensure that everyone is educated on these human rights crises that are still taking place in society.

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