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Formby MP Bill Esterson, “visibly moved”, by schools Holocaust Memorial service

Sefton Central MP, Bill Esterson was visibly moved when he thanked children at schools who took part in a Holocaust Memorial Service. The service was organised by CAPITAL Schools Partnership, which is a group of schools from across Sefton, including Redgate and Trinity St Peters in Formby. Children from schools in the partnership took part in the service and told the story of the Holocaust and also described children of their own age who were victims of the holocaust and other genocides, including Rwanda, Bosnia and Syria.

Bill Esterson MP said,

“Thank you to all the children who took part in the Holocaust service and to all the staff who organised the event. It was really moving and the children clearly learned about just how terrible the Holocaust and other genocides have been. The theme of the services was ‘How can life go on?’ and we heard about survivors and how they have found the strength to go on with life. Some, like the Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, at first didn’t want to speak about the Holocaust but later decided he should tell the world and did so through books and through media appearances. Elie Wiesel died last year and the children could identify with him because he lived at the same time as them. Survivors who have been able to describe their experiences have meant that events of 80 years ago are kept fresh in the memory. And of course more recent genocides like Rwanda, Bosnia and Syria are brought to us on TV and through social media.

“Living with the Holocaust means living in a free and democratic country, with the terrible knowledge of what society is capable of. That isn’t a lesson for history classes. It is something we have to keep in our minds every day:

  • understanding the extreme consequences of stereotyping and prejudice.

  • accepting that these things happen because good people do nothing in the face of dangerous ideas.

“We are all very lucky to live in a free country. We should be grateful for the freedoms we enjoy:

  • our religious freedom

  • our freedom to pick who leads our country

  • our freedom to speak our minds

“But the Holocaust shows us that these values can be eroded. That these terrible ideas can take hold in peaceful societies. The world hasn’t learnt this lesson, because it still happens:

  • Bosnia

  • Cambodia

  • Rwanda

  • Syria

“And just this week, the President of the most powerful country on earth has banned people from travelling to his country because of their religion, exactly the same thing as happened before the Holocaust.

“The children were very clear that we must learn the lessons of history and as Elie Wiesel said, ‘We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.’ And that is why we must stand up to Donald Trump who incites hatred by saying he will build a wall against his neighbours in Mexico and who bans muslims from the US. Everyone in Britain must decide do we want to stop a repeat of genocide or not and that includes our government and our Prime Minister. Theresa May went to see Donald Trump as is only right. But where he is wrong she must say so.

“Such are the lessons learned by the children at the Holocaust Memorial service in Sefton. Otherwise, we betray all those who died and we ignore the testimony of those who survived.”

Bill Esterson MP is pictured with Sefton Labour Councillor Ian Moncur, who is cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing and with students who took part in the Sefton Capital Learning Partnership Holocaust Memorial Service

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