On Holocaust Memorial Day 2017, our guest blog series concludes with the thoughts of two Members of Parliament. In this blog, Bob Blackman, MP for Harrow East, reflects on his remarkable tribute to Holocaust survivor Kitty Hart-Moxon in the House of Commons in December.
Kitty Hart-Moxon’s story is one of extraordinary courage in the face of inhumanity. Her survival at a young age of the worst aspects of the Holocaust, including persecution, ghettoisation, forced labour, death marches, and the ultimate horror of incarceration in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, is both disturbing and inspirational.
The pain of those memories and the sense of loss might have silenced some: it did not silence Kitty. She has been an incredible advocate for tolerance in the face of racism and hatred, speaking out in educational institutions across the country and authoring two books, I Am Alive and Return to Auschwitz. She had the ultimate revenge on those who murdered her family; she lived to raise a family of her own, to become a nurse, and to become a dedicated educator who has touched the lives of generations of young people in this country.
I was fortunate enough to be drawn for a question in Prime Minister’s Questions on 7th December last year and, when I was informed that Kitty was in the Public Gallery, I was only too happy to use the opportunity to welcome her and to also belatedly mark her 90th birthday. The applause which erupted amongst MPs to honour Kitty’s presence was in no way planned and certainly broke convention, but it was a truly unforgettable moment.
That outburst showed a strength of feeling on all sides of the House that does Kitty, and all of the other Holocaust survivors who have dedicated their lives to speaking out about injustice and intolerance, enormous credit. It was in some ways the culmination of their legacy, demonstrating the strength of feeling their many years of work has inspired. Above all, as we prepare to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2017 on 27th January, with its theme of responsibility towards the survivors of genocide, I hope that moment reinforced just how important it is for all of us to take the time to reflect on what happened and the lessons we must learn as a result.
Kitty’s voice, along with all those like her who continue to speak out, stands in place of the many millions who did not survive to tell their story. It is all our duty to listen, to learn, and to applaud such incredible courage.
Click here to read Anna Turley MP’s reflections on her visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau with the Trust.