Students in the Senior School were asked in assembly this week to reflect on the theme of the 2021 Holocaust Memorial Day, ‘Be the light in the darkness’. They heard about the story of Nicholas Winton who, in 1939, arranged for 669 Jewish children to be transported from Czechoslovakia to safety in England, avoiding Nazi persecution.
Even though, when we look at social media and the news, it can seem like we are living in dark times, the HMD theme this year asks us to be inspired by those who shine a light, be it through resistance, words of kindness, or action, like Nicholas Winton’s.
Other figures we can draw inspiration from include; Sophie Scholl – Member of The White Rose movement who distributed pamphlets instructing Germans to passively resist the Nazi government. At her trial in 1943 she said, “Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don’t dare express themselves as we did.”
Josephine Dusaminama, who was a rescuer during the Rwandan Genocide. She saved people by hiding them on boats, and sailing them to the DRC. Her survivors were a mix of women, men and children, many of whom were sole survivors of their families. In response to her critics she said, “You are a human being. If people came to you asking for refuge, would you chase them away?”