EventsEventsPodcasts
Loader
Find Us
ADVERTISEMENT

Euroviews. The EU should join Britain's Holocaust inquiry into Alderney to illuminate history's darkest corners

Holocaust survivor Peter Stein holds a photograph of his grandparents during the 2023 Days of Remembrance commemoration, Washington DC, April 2023
Holocaust survivor Peter Stein holds a photograph of his grandparents during the 2023 Days of Remembrance commemoration, Washington DC, April 2023 Copyright AFP/Euronews
Copyright AFP/Euronews
By Scott Saunders, Founder and Chair, March of the Living UK
Published on Updated
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent in any way the editorial position of Euronews.

By uniting memory and cooperation, we can build a better world — a world where diversity is celebrated, where prejudice is condemned, and where the lessons of history guide us towards a future of compassion, understanding, and peace, Scott Saunders writes.

ADVERTISEMENT

The recent announcement of a UK government inquiry into the Nazi concentration camps on Alderney is a profound and commendable step towards preserving the memory of one of history's darkest chapters. 

The Channel Islands, nestled within the UK and under Nazi occupation during World War II, became the site of unimaginable cruelty that mirrored the horrors experienced across Europe. 

Between 1942 and 1944, the Nazis operated four camps on Alderney. At least 700 people perished on the spot, with the remainder of the inmates transferred to France as the war neared its end. Some 400 graves of victims remain on the island to this day.

The victims of the Holocaust on British soil have waited too long for their stories to be told, and this inquiry is a crucial opportunity to bring their experiences to light.

A sacred journey to confront the past

Memory, as the cornerstone of our humanity, shapes our actions and guides our future. 

It is our solemn duty to ensure that the horrors of the Holocaust are etched into the collective consciousness of humanity. 

By working to uncover the truth of lesser-known Holocaust atrocities, we honour the victims' memories and embrace the survivors' resilience, ensuring that their experiences reach every corner of the world.

AP Photo/Markus Schreiber
A man walks through the gate of the Sachsenhausen Nazi death camp with the phrase 'Arbeit macht frei', January 2019AP Photo/Markus Schreiber

The Alderney inquiry transcends mere historical examination; it represents a sacred journey to confront our past honestly and responsibly. 

It calls for an alliance of nations, standing together as guardians of memory and advocates for a more compassionate and understanding world.

The Holocaust was a universal tragedy, transcending borders and impacting the lives of countless individuals and communities. 

It is a history that calls for collective remembrance, transcending national boundaries to foster unity in our commitment to safeguarding human rights and preventing future atrocities.

Learning from the survivors

As the Chairman of March of the Living, an organisation dedicated to Holocaust remembrance and education, I have the privilege of meeting countless survivors whose indomitable spirit continue to inspire me. 

Their courage in sharing their traumatic experiences highlights the significance of preserving and disseminating their stories to ensure that history's lessons are learned, not forgotten.

The survivors of the Holocaust provide a living testament to the resilience of the human spirit. They serve as beacons of hope, reminding us that even in the darkest times, hope and courage can prevail. 

Voices [of survivors] must not be lost in the sands of time but must echo through the ages, inspiring generations to come to stand against bigotry and prejudice.
Alastair Grant/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
Nazi Holocaust survivors John Hajdu, Joan Salter, and Martin Stern holding candles of remembrance on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day in London, January 2023Alastair Grant/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved

Their experiences are not merely chapters in history books; they are profound lessons in humanity and the consequences of unchecked hatred.

ADVERTISEMENT

Preserving their stories and sharing them with the world is not only a tribute to their endurance but also a crucial step in educating future generations about the consequences of intolerance. 

Their voices must not be lost in the sands of time but must echo through the ages, inspiring generations to come to stand against bigotry and prejudice.

The importance of collaboration

The UK government's decision to undertake the Alderney inquiry is a commendable step, but it is essential to recognise the importance of international cooperation. 

As the European Union represents a union of diverse nations bound by a shared commitment to historical remembrance and human rights, its participation in the inquiry would reinforce the notion that the memory of the Holocaust unites us all.

ADVERTISEMENT

By supporting the inquiry, the EU can contribute invaluable resources, expertise, and solidarity, elevating the investigation to greater heights of thoroughness and comprehensiveness. 

The Alderney inquiry serves as a powerful reminder that the Holocaust was a universal tragedy, transcending borders and impacting the lives of countless individuals and communities.
AP Photo/Markus Schreiber
People march near the Holocaust Memorial during a "March Of The Living" in Berlin, April 2023AP Photo/Markus Schreiber

Collaborating on this vital endeavour will send a powerful message of unity and empathy, demonstrating that Europe stands shoulder to shoulder in the face of the darkest episodes in its history.

Moreover, the EU's involvement would extend the impact of Holocaust education across its member states, fostering a sense of collective responsibility to remember and learn from the past. 

The stories of the survivors, like echoes from history, resonate throughout the continent, reminding us of the price of hatred and intolerance.

ADVERTISEMENT

Building a future rooted in compassion

The inquiry is not merely about unearthing historical facts but also about honouring the memories of those who perished and those who survived. 

By understanding the true extent of the horrors that occurred even in places we might not expect, we can confront the darkest elements of our history and work towards a future free from bigotry and violence.

Through collaboration and education, we can break the cycle of hatred and intolerance that has perpetuated human suffering throughout history. 

Together, let us embrace this opportunity to illuminate history's darkest corners, remembering the victims, honouring the survivors, and working collectively to build a world rooted in tolerance, compassion, and peace.
Zoltan Balogh/MTI via AP
A man stands in front of the Memorial Wall of Victims at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Budapest, April 2023Zoltan Balogh/MTI via AP

By uniting memory and cooperation, we can build a better world — a world where diversity is celebrated, where prejudice is condemned, and where the lessons of history guide us towards a future of compassion, understanding, and peace.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Alderney inquiry is a testament to the power of memory and the strength of collaboration. 

Together, let us embrace this opportunity to illuminate history's darkest corners, remembering the victims, honouring the survivors, and working collectively to build a world rooted in tolerance, compassion, and peace. 

May our unity in this endeavour serve as an eternal beacon of hope, guiding humanity away from the shadows of the past and towards a future defined by understanding, empathy, and a shared commitment to never forget.

Scott Saunders is the Founder and Chair of March of the Living UK.

ADVERTISEMENT

At Euronews, we believe all views matter. Contact us at view@euronews.com to send pitches or submissions and be part of the conversation.

Share this articleComments

You might also like

Who was Sir Nicholas Winton, the subject of 'One Life' starring Anthony Hopkins?

WATCH: King Charles' opening of new parliament of the United Kingdom

UK looks to rebuild relations with Europe under new leadership