PEOPLE all across Gibraltar remembered the horrors of the Holocaust on Friday by lighting a candle at 5pm alongside the rest of the world.
The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust gave this year’s annual global memorial the theme of ‘Ordinary People’ because it was they who carried out the orders that led to the deaths of 11 million people in Nazi concentration camps.
The day also recalled the victims of more recent genocides in Bosnia, Darfur, Cambodia, Myanmar and Rwanda.
Chief Minister of the British territory Fabian Picardo led the way by lighting his own candle outside the government offices at Number 6 Convent Place after a one minute silence.
He will be joined by the governor, government ministers and the president of the Jewish community.
“Genocide is ultimately enabled by ordinary people,” Gibraltar’s Ministry of Justice said in a statement.
“It is ordinary people who also turn a blind eye and then believe propaganda and discriminate.”
Prosecuting the persecutors
In Nazi Germany trials over the last 70 years have brought many ordinary people to trial to account for their crimes at the Holocaust.
Possibly the last of these cases was against a 97-year-old former Nazi secretary at the Stutthoff Camp in occupied Poland who got a two-year suspended sentence.
“Ordinary people join regimes that commit murder under their regime’s guise,” it continued.
“People who are persecuted, oppressed and murdered in genocides are persecuted just because they are ‘different’ ordinary people who belong to a different particular group,” it added.
Arek Hersh, a Holocaust Survivor and Mike Levy, Holocaust Education Advisor gave a 2017 talk on his experiences which is available online.
Minister for Justice and Equality Samantha Sacramento said it was important ‘not to forget what ordinary people are capable of doing’.
She added: “We must not allow prejudices and feelings of hate to take over us and make a point of highlighting this when it happens in order to stop it from the outset.
“Ordinary people, such as ourselves, can play a bigger part than we can even imagine in challenging prejudice and discrimination when we see it developing.”
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