We cannot and must not simply avert our eyes
Sometimes it is the simplest of messages that are the most powerful. That is certainly true when you read the words of Holocaust survivor Walter Kammerling on page 3 today.
Mr Kammerling was a guest speaker at a Holocaust Memorial Day service in Havant yesterday and gave an impassioned plea for us all not to stand by and allow injustice to take place.
He said: ‘Don’t stand by, don’t be silent. That was valid then and it’s valid now. How often does it happen that we see something wrong and we think “I won’t get involved?”. Do get involved.’
He knows what he is talking about. Because he is not just commenting on a dark period in history – he was part of it.
The 92-year-old grew up as a Jew in Austria under the Nazis, but was allowed to leave as part of the UK’s Kindertransport programme in 1938, which saved 10,000 children from the horrors of the Holocaust.
But Mr Kammerling’s parents and one of his two sisters were sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp to join millions of others murdered by the Nazis during the Second World War.
His powerful message was echoed by city councillor Darren Saunders at a memorial service at Portsmouth’s D-Day Museum.
He said: ‘We must do everything we can to stop such events from happening again and that means not standing by.’
As men, women and children die trying to flee Syria and pictures of the refugee crisis continue to fill our TV screens, we would do well to remember this message.
It’s all too easy to think that it is a problem that has nothing to do with us.
But millions have been killed or forced to flee their homes and the civil war is now one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time.
As Mr Kammerling reminds us, we cannot and must not simply avert our eyes.