Saturday, January 27, 2007


"Integration was not enough to save [the German Jews in wartime Germany]. Suspicion, prejudice and discrimination lay dormant, awaiting crisis. It was this deeply embedded anti-Semitism that the Nazis were able to unleash. Britain today has more complex fault lines than the straightforward Judeo-Christian duel played upon by the fascism of the 1930s. We are surrounded by a cacophony of cultures, of which we often know little. If hit hard with the ideology of hatred, our society would not split into two, it would shatter into a thousand pieces.

"The question is what do we really know about our neighbours? Did you wish your Muslim friend well over the fast of Ramadan, or chat to your Hindu friend about Diwali, or find out what Yom Kippur means to a Jew? Have you learned why your Polish colleague has left her child with a grandparent to come to work here, or found out the variety of degrees your East European office cleaners have between them? Have you ever spoken to an asylum seeker about why they are here and what they have left behind? Do you think of your colleague as disabled, or just the same but different? Are we actually speaking to each other or just passing by? This year's Holocaust Memorial Day (today) is trying to address some of these issues. " ~ Stephen Smith of HMD, writing on Guardian CIF. See also: Holocaust Memorial Day supporters warn against complacency, Ekklesia.

A recent YouGov UK poll conducted by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust suggested that 41% of us think that the Holocaust could happen again. Worryingly, 36% of us also think that if genocide were to happen most people would stand by and do nothing. The vast majority of us - 79% - do not realise that black people were also targets of the Nazis and nearly 50% had no idea that the Roma community, lesbians and gay men, and people with disabilities, were also persecuted.

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