A British MP has spoken movingly of how the Holocaust tore apart his family and left memories “seared” into him after he learned that the Nazis experimented on a relative.
Labour’s Alex Sobel (Leeds North West), speaking during a debate focused on Holocaust Memorial Day, said the Holocaust still casts a “dark spectre” over his family with “all the relatives I never met, that never survived, the children they never had.”
Mr. Sobel, who won the Leeds North West seat for Labour at last year’s general election, said:
I remember as a young child sitting in my great aunt’s kitchen in Tel Aviv, seeing the numbers tattooed on her arm and asking my father why – she was in the camps.
She didn’t have her own children or grandchildren, I had no aunts and uncles or cousins to play with, because the Nazis experimented on her and she couldn’t have children.
This hollow shell casts a dark spectre over my family – all the relatives I never met, that never survived, the children they never had.
This is my own living memory of what happened and this is seared into me, when I make my own judgments politically, when genocide comes now to the Rohingya, to the Yazidi, round the world.
But not just that, but when thinking about decisions more locally.
Daniel Kawczynski, Conservative MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, said the role of Christians who gave their lives to save Jewish families during the Shoah should also be honoured.
His great-uncle, Jan Kawczynski, had hid Jewish families on his estate, he said.
“When the Germans found out, they shot his daughter and his wife, and then him. I think that this is a very important time to remember those Christians who sacrificed their lives to protect Jewish neighbours.”
Joan Ryan, Labour Friends of Israel chair and MP for Enfield North, praised the government for adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.
Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: Follow @SunSimonKent or e-mail to: email@example.com