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Jamie Stone takes part in Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations

By Alan Hendry

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Jamie Stone signing the Holocaust Educational Trust's Book of Commitment.
Jamie Stone signing the Holocaust Educational Trust's Book of Commitment.

Local MP Jamie Stone has described the Holocaust as an "unspeakable crime" that must never be forgotten.

He was among those signing the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment, honouring the millions who were murdered by the Nazis during World War II and paying tribute to survivors who have worked to educate young people about what happened.

Mr Stone also referred to a cousin of his who, during her time in the Red Cross, was one of the first to enter the Belsen concentration camp after it was liberated towards the end of the war.

Holocaust Memorial Day falls on January 27 every year, the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in 1945.

In the lead-up to Holocaust Memorial Day, and on the day itself, thousands of commemorative events are arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations, remembering the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides.

The theme for this year’s commemorations is "Ordinary People".

Mr Stone, the Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, wrote in the Book of Commitment: "This unspeakable crime must never happen again or be forgotten. In memory of all who died in the Holocaust and my cousin, Joan Priday, who was one of the first people to enter Belsen after liberation."

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “On Holocaust Memorial Day we remember the six million men, women and children who were murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators, simply for being Jewish, and we pay tribute to the incredible survivors, many of whom still share their testimony day in and day out to ensure that future generations never forget the horrors of the past.

"We also remember that antisemitism did not start or end with the Holocaust. We must all be vigilant, and speak out whenever it is found.”

In a House of Commons debate marking Holocaust Memorial Day 2021, Mr Stone told of Joan Priday's "dreadful experience" at Belsen.

"She did not like to talk about it, but she did tell me that they could not feed the freed prisoners too much to start with because the shock of a full meal could kill them," Mr Stone said. "She talked about the smell, which is something that people who have experienced it never forget.

"She caught a disease at the camp that made her very sick indeed.

"Talking to her son, John Priday, I discovered that she was troubled by the most awful nightmares for much of the rest of her life. She was awarded the MBE for what she did."

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