MP commemorates Holocaust Memorial Day 2012

Neil Parish outlines the importance of commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day and the need to ensure that the events of seventy years ago are not repeated.Neil Parish (Tiverton and Honiton) (Con): I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon Central (Gavin Barwell) for securing this debate. We have heard emotional speeches, and I feel that the holocaust is one of those subjects I must speak about—it is a feeling inside. Seventy years on, it is perhaps difficult for us to understand the scale of the holocaust, and having been to Israel and the holocaust museum, and having seen the shoes and the clothes and possessions of the millions of Jewish people who were killed, it is almost impossible to comprehend.As other hon. Members have pointed out, it is also difficult to understand the industrial scale of the holocaust. It was carried out by educated people who came together to create a genocide that had never been seen before, and that is the callousness of it all. However terrible it is to shoot people, or whatever, the actual creation of gas chambers and railways to transport people, together with all the bureaucracy to exterminate a people, is almost unbelievable.We must also remember that out of a population of some 18 million, the Jewish people lost a third of their population; again, that is almost impossible to comprehend. There cannot be a Jewish family in the world who have not been touched by what happened during that period. The Holocaust Educational Trust is so right to remind people not just that terrible atrocities took place, but of what actually happened. We need to be reminded that these things can and did happen, and we must ensure, as far as possible, that they do not happen again.We talk about the holocaust and the number of Jewish people who were murdered. One can sometimes understand very much the attitude of Israel when it is surrounded by neighbours who say that they do not want Israel to exist—that it should be wiped off the face of the map. The Jewish people have suffered historically. One third of their population was wiped out, so one can understand how strongly they feel. My constituency does not have a huge Jewish population, and I am not of a Jewish family myself, but as many other hon. Members have said, one great thing that we British have is a sense of fair play. What happened was absolutely not fair play, and we need to stand up and be counted.My hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Bob Stewart) made a great speech about Bosnia and Srebrenica. I, too, have been to Srebrenica: I have been to the factory where many of the killings took place. We cannot afford to be complacent, because atrocities continue to be committed. As my hon. Friend said, that place is only two hours by plane from where we sit, but it happened, and in the 1990s. One would think that it is not possible. I met mothers and wives who had lost their sons and husbands. They believe that many of the people who carried out those atrocities are still out there, free, not having been brought to book.Bob Stewart: They are.Neil Parish: Yes, exactly. Again, the situation is hugely emotional. Today is one of those times when we remember what happened and we support very much the Jewish state and Jews throughout the world, who have suffered so badly. Although we congratulate ourselves on the huge improvements that have taken place, we must never take our eye off the ball, because these things could happen again. I endorse so much of what other hon. Members have said. It would be absolutely right to have a debate such as this every year to ensure that we lay down clearly on the record what Parliament feels and what Britain feels about what happened, and what we will try to do to make sure it does not happen again.| Hansard