As Holocaust Memorial Day (27 January) approaches, the Bishop of Lichfield, the Right Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, who is also the Chair of the national Council for Christians and Jews (CCJ), reflects on the way we use words:
"The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2018 is 'The Power of Words'. As we who are Christians and Jews know well, words have a power to indict, spread hate, and cause irreparable harm in the lives of individuals and communities. But often it is also the absence of words which has such an impact in situations of hatred and discrimination, and of course genocide. The power of Holocaust Memorial Day is to remind us that, for people of faith, speaking out is a moral imperative to prevent future catastrophes.
"It is often by hearing the words of survivors who bravely give their testimonies that we are able to appreciate, albeit in an understandably limited way, the reality of what they lived through. It is their words—their ability to tell their stories—which we remember and then are able to pass on so that others may hear the truth.
"Around the country CCJ branches are involved in local Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations and in related Holocaust education work. It was the power of Christian and Jewish leaders bravely speaking out in 1942 which enabled CCJ to be founded in the first place: only by meeting, talking, listening, and as a result acting together have we been able to make an impact in our 75 years. It is the inspiration to do what we can to make the future the best that it can be which will guide us as we mark Holocaust Memorial Day and as we continue our work to strengthen relations between our communities."
To find out how Lichfield Cathedral is marking Holocaust Memorial Day visit here.