Never again – to anyone!

Statement on Holocaust Memorial Day 2024

Never again – to anyone!

Photo: David Rosenberg

Holocaust Memorial Day, on 27th January, marks the day in 1945 that the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz, the largest of six extermination centres the Nazis established in Poland, was liberated by the Red Army. Around 900,000 Jews and 21,000 Roma were gassed to death there. Thousands of Soviet prisoners of war were also killed there. Tens of thousands of Polish political prisoners, trade unionists, communists, gays, and others died from mistreatment in Auschwitz prison camp or as slave labourers, alongside Jewish and Roma slaves.

The first victims of Nazi experiments in mass killing, two years before Auschwitz was built, were disabled people murdered at Brandenburg in gas chambers disguised as shower rooms.

In 2024, though, this day cannot be about remembrance alone, because those who promote racist, fascist and ethno-nationalist ideologies are all too present and dangerous right now.

The Jewish Socialists’ Group expresses its solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of people in German cities who took to the streets to protest against the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) – polling high among the German public – after its plans for mass deportation of migrants and minorities were exposed.

British governments continue to treat fascism as something that happens elsewhere. They congratulate themselves on Britain’s role in defeating Nazism. Yet the Conservative Party are closely connected with the AfD. 

The Tories form the largest section within the Council of Europe Conservatives’ group that unites them with the AfD and a host of other hard-right and far-right parties across Europe, such as Le Pen’s National Rally in France, Meloni’s Brothers of Italy, Vox in Spain, the Freedom Party in Austria and Orban’s Fidesz party in Hungary. The Tory Party’s vicious policies against refugees increasingly align with those of these other parties.

It is scandalous that the Tories suffer no pressure on this from the mainstream media, nor from the Labour opposition, nor indeed from Jewish establishment bodies in Britain over those formal connections. Jewish “leaders” instead continue to praise the government’s pro-Israel stance that allows Israel’s far-right government a free hand to commit war crimes in Gaza in defiance of international law; as a result they seem unwilling to challenge the Tories on anything.

We demand that the Conservative Party cut its links with the AfD now. We call on those bodies that claim to lead the Jewish community in Britain to strongly and publicly echo this demand, and express their solidarity with all the minorities targeted by the AfD.

The far-right fringe in Britain are being emboldened by the Conservative government’s further lurch to the right. Small wonder that Tommy Robinson feels able to call on his supporters to march in Telford this weekend, on Holocaust Memorial Day, exploiting instances of sexual exploitation of girls to push his longstanding Islamophobic agenda. We stand with victims of sexual exploitation seeking justice but, as both Islamophobia and antisemitism are rising, we will give no ground to racism.

On Holocaust Memorial Day we mourn the lives and celebrate the incredible cultural creativity of the communities that were destroyed by Nazism. We affirm our commitment to fighting racism, fascism, ethnic cleansing and authoritarianism everywhere. The Jewish Socialists’ Group commits itself to building a world of equality, where the rights of minorities are respected and enhanced, and where all cultures can flourish and interact freely.

We remember those who resisted antisemitism and fascism in Poland in the 1930s, Europe’s largest Jewish community, and in the ghettoes under Nazi occupation. And we affirm our commitment: Never Again – to anyone! 

Posted: 26 January 2024
Topics: holocaust memorial day statement