Holocaust Memorial Day

27th January

Most of the major railway terminals in London have memorials erected in prominent places as the major railway companies commemorated the names of their former employees who had enlisted and died in the Great War (1914-1918). Liverpool Street Station has more memorials than most, and is notable for having two separate installations in remembrance of the Kindertransport – a relief campaign which rescued about 10,000 Jewish children from Germany and central Europe immediately before the Second World War (1939-1946). Subsequent events meant that many of these children were the only members of their families to survive the holocaust that followed, arriving at Liverpool Street Station after disembarking from the Hook-of-Holland to Harwich ferry.

Seventy five years later, for many of us it seems inconceivable that a commemoration of the holocaust continues to be problematic for those who deny the events themselves. However, the existence of the deniers can’t be denied, no matter how bonkers they might seem to the rest of us; and the persistence of anti-semitism continues to plague public life. It’s the politics of hatred; the fist or the bullet rather than reasoned argument.

Anyway, today I will take some time and remember that once Britain welcomed those escaping persecution and offered both sanctuary and opportunities to those who sought refuge, or asylum. I’ll think of those children who arrived in 1939, most of whom are no longer with us and some of whom I’ve noticed are interred nearby in Bushey Cemetery, just South of Watford; and I’ll think of their siblings, and parents, and grandparents, and cousins, and uncles, and aunties, and millions of others left behind and who died in the genocide.