“Hope without memory is like memory without hope” is the striking phrase by Sir Elie Wiesel brought forward by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust for the 2010 commemoration under the theme: ‘the Legacy of Hope’. Elie Wiesel was awarded an honorary knighthood in 2006 as a public sign of the importance of the living memory that survivors of the Holocaust are for present day humanity. Our 2010 commemoration of the Holocaust has at its heart the survivors of the Shoah, the unique human beings who are the primary source for our continued attention, our understanding and our need to continue to work at the lessons in a world that seems not yet to have learned them.
As those who directly connect us and our children with that archetypal genocide pass from this life, we are confronted with the challenge of keeping alive the reality of what happened and of its defining significance. There may still be some 5000 Jewish and other survivors of the camps and of the years of Nazi occupied Europe. But tragically there are also many hundreds of thousands of people in this and other countries who are survivors of the many other genocidal events of the 20th and 21st centuries, including those atrocities that have taken place, like the Holocaust, on European soil.