COMMENT: We must never be allowed to forget horror of the Holocaust

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First published in News

IT may be almost 70 years ago and to some the meeting of 11 Holocaust survivors and liberator Gilbert King may be significant to just those personally involved.

But, even as we commemorate the centenary of the start of the First World War this month, the Holocaust is something we should never forget.

There is a danger with any historical event that sometimes, over the years, its true significance can dim in the mind.

That can be especially true with something of the enormity of the Holocaust. We can, inadvertently, forget the horror of those years when the Nazis reached one of the lowest points in the history of man as they exterminated a third of the world’s living Jews and any other race they didn’t like.

Eleven million people are estimated to have been slaughtered. Eleven million.

Mr King was with the Oxfordshire Yeomanry when his regiment freed Bergen-Belsen in northern Germany in 1945.

Yesterday there were 11 survivors of the Holocaust who met the 96-year-old and, tellingly, the memories are still strong in the minds of each side.

For Mr King there was the indelible memory of seeing the pitiful sight of skeletal survivors and the realisation of what had been going on.

Survivor Renee Salt can remember every day of her captivity and the pain remains fresh.

In just a few short years most of the liberators and the survivors will no longer be with us and we will lose that direct human connection, as we have done recently with the First World War.

That is why we need to continue to listen to these people now so that we are constantly reminded of the horror of the Holocaust and remain steadfast in our commitment it must never happen again.

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