Scotland’s national Holocaust Memorial Day event for 2014 took place on 27 January in Stirling’s Macrobert Arts Centre, with a diverse programme including survivor speeches, music and film; all centred on the theme of Journeys.
The centrepiece of the proceedings was a talk by Dr Alfred Münzer, who survived the Holocaust in the Netherlands with the help of his Indonesian neighbours who concealed him from the Nazis.
Although his parents survived, he explained to the 300-strong audience how his two sisters, aged six and eight, were not so lucky. They had been hiding with a different family and the husband in the household betrayed them to the Nazis.
‘I often wonder how many Nobel Prize-winners lie among the ashes of the death camps,’ Dr Münzer said in his speech.
‘I think about all the nieces and nephews and time with my family I missed out on because of these senseless killings. But the real tragedy for me is not how many people died. It is that we have not learned and it [genocide] still goes on today.’
Also giving his testimony was Arn Chorn-Pond, who survived the Genocide in Cambodia and escaped the Khmer Rouge for the USA. He flew across the Atlantic for Holocaust Memorial Day and spent time telling his story to school children in and around Glasgow, giving them the opportunity to engage with him and ask questions to better understand the events in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979.
The Nazi Persecution of the European Roma community was the focus of a musical performance, and educational charity From Yesterday for Tomorrow screened a documentary of interviews with Holocaust survivors.
‘Holocaust Memorial Day is hugely significant and we are honoured to be hosting the Scottish national event in Stirling. I am pleased that so many people from across Scotland will join us in Stirling to share stories, learn from our past, and look to building a positive future and a vision for a tolerant society,’ said the Provost for Stirling Mike Robbins.
‘We encourage all members of our community, both locally and nationally, to show their support by sending messages, which will be displayed at the event and online.’
Although the audience for the Scottish national event numbered 300 in Stirling, thanks to the work of Glow, an online community for schools, many more young people throughout Scotland were able to watch the proceedings live. It was broadcasted through the Glow TV intranet, which also hosted a number of other events to mark HMD, including an opportunity to hear from Minister for Education Mike Russell about his recent trip to Auschwitz.