Sheryll Murray – 2021 Speech on Holocaust Memorial Day

The speech made by Sheryll Murray, the Conservative MP for South East Cornwall, in the House of Commons on 28 January 2021.

I thank the Backbench Business Committee for selecting this timely debate. It is important that we as politicians learn as much as we can about what happens when politics goes wrong, as they did in Germany in the late 1930s and early ’40s under Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party.

I have joined students from my South East Cornwall constituency on a visit to Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, organised by the Holocaust Educational Trust. There cannot be a starker reminder of the terrible atrocities man can visit upon man. The new museum displays prisoners’ mugshots and substantial amounts of hair, suitcases and shoes taken from murdered prisoners. It is an educational journey I will never forget, and I know the impact it had on the visiting students.

I have also visited Israel with the Conservative Friends of Israel, as declared in my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. Along with colleagues, I visited Yad Vashem, Israel’s holocaust memorial. It was an incredibly moving visit. I found the hall of names particularly poignant. The ceiling of the hall displays 600 photographs and fragments of pages of testimony. Over 2 million of these pages are stored around the hall, a room for the 6 million men, women and children from the diverse Jewish world who were murdered by the Nazis. On the same visit, I attended the national ceremony of Yom HaShoah—Holocaust Remembrance Day.

I have also visited the holocaust exhibition in our own Imperial War Museum, with my husband Bob. The photograph displays and artefacts show dramatically the mass executions carried out as part of the Nazi final solution policy.

At this time of the pandemic, when we cannot travel and should stay at home, it is important that we continue to remember and that we ensure that people can still learn about this terrible time, so that it does not happen again. The Holocaust Educational Trust has a lot of resources on its website—het.org.uk—and I recommend this important resource.