First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has spoke to over 100 people, including Holocaust Educational Trust Ambassadors, about the importance of Holocaust education and remembrance at an event at the Scottish Parliament.
The group of Ambassadors is made up of young people who have heard the first-hand testimony of a Holocaust survivor and visited the former concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The First Minister pledged to continue to support the charity’s Lessons from Auschwitz initiative in Scotland.
Joining Ms Sturgeon were students, teachers and MSPs from across Scotland, including Ken Macintosh MSP, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, who hosted the event.
Holocaust Educational Trust Ambassadors Laura Pasternak and Samuel Oyewusi, who are both from Scotland, spoke about the work they have done since taking part in the Lessons from Auschwitz project.
Holocaust survivor Henry Wuga spoke to the audience, which included his wife Ingrid, about his escape from Nazi Germany on the Kindertransport following Kristallnacht in November 1938. Both Henry and Ingrid then settled in Scotland following the move and speak for the Holocaust Educational Trust in Scottish schools.
The Holocaust Educational Trust’s evening reception takes place annually in Scotland to celebrate the work of the charity’s Scottish Ambassadors, following their participation on the Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz Project, a four-part course that includes a one day visit to the former Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The Project is supported by a grant from the Scottish government and since 2009, when Scottish government funding first started, thousands of students and teachers have been able to take part.
Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust said: “I’m delighted to celebrate the incredible work of our Ambassadors this evening in the Scottish Parliament with the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Thanks to the support of the Scottish Government thousands of students and teachers have visited the former concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau and have returned to their communities motivated to carry the legacy of the Holocaust for future generations.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I can give you my assurance that as long as I’m First Minister the Scottish Government will continue to support the work of the Holocaust Educational Trust...because your work matters. The work you do and the time you invest, not only matters for this generation but also for generations to come. All of us should hugely appreciate the importance of learning from the past and applying lessons today and in the future.”
Ken Macintosh MSP, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, said: “The purpose of this event in the Scottish Parliament was to raise awareness of the valuable work that the Holocaust Educational Trust undertakes in Scotland. The lessons of the past and the importance of tolerance and understanding are as relevant today as they ever have been, particularly in a world that is constantly changing. The work that the Holocaust Educational Trust does through the Lesson from Auschwitz project and from listening to the testimony of Holocaust survivors, allows young people to share what they have learnt with their peers and in their communities. It was a pleasure to celebrate the work of these young ambassadors in spreading a positive message of compassion and humanity.”