Gavin Barwell is Member of Parliament for Croydon Central. Follow Gavin on Twitter.
Each year, on the 27th January - the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau by the Red Army – we mark Holocaust Memorial Day (tomorrow). It is an opportunity to remember the victims of this and subsequent genocides and to learn the appropriate lessons so that we can try to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Like many MPs, I've had the opportunity to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau with students from my constituency as part of the Holocaust Educational Trust’s amazing “Lessons from Auschwitz” project. And I’ve had the honour to meet Croydon resident and Holocaust survivor, Janina Fischler-Martinho, and to listen to her hold an audience of several hundred young people spellbound as she described what happened to her and her family.
There are some who question whether we should teach the next generation about what happened in Europe 70 years ago. Lord Baker of Dorking, who over a long and distinguished career has done so much to improve education in this country, has said:
“I would ban the study of Nazism from the history curriculum totally. I don’t really think that it does anything to learn more about Hitler and Nazism and the Holocaust. It doesn’t really make us favourably disposed to Germany for a start, present-day Germany... I think you study your own history first... I think children should leave a British school with some idea of the timeline in their minds - how it came from Roman Britain to Elizabeth II.”