Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales remembers Holocaust Day


- Credit: Newham Council

This week in Newham we remembered victims of the Holocaust.

It is right that we gathered to commemorate such an atrocious and significant moment in our history and think about the lessons we must keep on learning.

Far smarter people than me have spent the past 70 years thinking about those lessons. There aren’t easy answers, because evil acts committed by ordinary people challenge the core of our understanding of who we are. We advertised our Holocaust Memorial Day event on posters around the borough. Someone chose to spray-paint words like ‘liars’ and ‘killer’ over four of those posters.

This outrageous, cowardly hate crime was an assault on the mutual respect which the vast majority of us share. It wasn’t freedom of speech, it was racist vandalism and we’re working with the police to bring the perpetrator to justice.

There are others who want to deny that the Holocaust happened. By denying, they want us to forget the lesson that we must always be on our guard against those who wish to divide us. That’s why we have to continue to fight against racism and anti-Semitism. We must celebrate and accept difference and never forget the common humanity and value which unites us. As a council we value all residents. When we spend your taxes, it’s to benefit everyone. It’s important people from different backgrounds get to know each other, share experiences, develop friendships and respect. We support activities that help people to mix, like the Mayor’s Newham Show and street parties. I want residents to be proud of their heritage, culture and beliefs. I want us to meet each other, get along and be able to live and work together. An event as awful as the Holocaust demands we remember, It demands that we affirm the value of every individual, and oppose those who want to divide us. More from Sir Robin