A reception to mark Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) 2018 was held at The House of Lords last night.
Hosted by Lord Shinkwin and Baroness Finlay, supported by Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, Peers heard from Joan Salter MBE, a child survivor of the Holocaust and Safet Vukalić, a survivor of the Genocide in Bosnia.
Peers were joined by survivors of the Holocaust, and the genocides which followed, in the River Room, House of Lords. Guests were welcomed by the Lord Speaker, Lord Fowler, who reiterated the important contributions survivors and their families have made to British life, including within the two Houses of Parliament.
Reflecting on the theme for HMD 2018, The power of words, Lord Shinkwin said:
‘How many of us remember the childhood saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”? I wonder if we can also remember how old we were when we realised that the opposite was true – that nothing has greater power to hurt than words.’
Joan Salter MBE, described how she sailed from Europe to America, aged three, without her parents. Joan said:
‘A couple took me from the orphanage, my name was changed, my past wiped out and it was not until 1947, that I was reunited with my birth parents.’
Joan was recently awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list. Reflecting on this she said:
‘If the adult me had told that little girl: “You have a long hard journey ahead, but in the end, it will all be alright.” Would she have believed me?’
Safet Vukalić spoke more about the theme for HMD 2018, The power of words.
‘Words matter. Words can hurt, they can kill and they can be the cause of unthinkable events.’
‘Your words matter. Your words affect others. Use them to praise, support and empower instead. Use the words in the right way and they can make the right difference. Use the words even better and they will save lives.’