Constituency matters… a weekly column by the Member of Parliament for Folkestone and Hythe, Damian Collins 28 January 2024.
Holocaust Memorial Day
Every January we mark Holocaust Memorial Day on the 27th of the month, and in parliament commemorations are held throughout the week that this important moment of reflection falls. On Friday 26 January I also attended the Holocaust Memorial Service held at Holy Trinity Church in Folkestone.
The 27th January was chosen as Holocaust Memorial Day because it is the anniversary of the liberation in 1945 of the Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp in the final months of the Second World War. The horrors committed by the Nazi Germany in Europe led to the deaths of more than six million Jewish people as well as the execution of homosexuals, gypsies and political opponents of their regime of terror. As it is now nearly eighty years since the end of that war, there are fewer and fewer people who now have a direct memory of it. That is why it is so important that we not only gather together to remember, but also that young people today are taught about the holocaust.
At the service in Folkestone this year it was good to see the participation of Brockhill Park School, Folkestone School for Girls and the Turner Free School. The students I met from Folkestone School for Girls had also recently completed an educational visit to Auschwitz.
So great were the crimes committed by the Nazis that we might think that they will always be remembered, and their significance understood. However, we cannot take this for granted. I was shocked in particular to read research published by The Economist magazine in December which showed that 20% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 believe that the holocaust is a myth, and a further 30% neither agreed or disagreed with the assertion that it never happened. This compared with just 8% of 30 to 44 year olds in the USA who believe the holocaust was a myth, and 2% of 45 to 65 year olds.
On Friday 19 January I held my tenth annual jobs fair at the Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone. Each year this event brings together local employers, training providers and colleges, with people of all ages in the district who are looking for new opportunities. This event was supported again by some of our leading local employers, including Holiday Extras, Border Force, Swiss Re and Veolia. It was also great to hear from the representatives from Southern Water that at last year’s jobs fair they met two young people who they subsequently employed in their engineering team. The purpose of the jobs fair is to make exactly these kind of connections.
There are some jobs, in particular with the armed forces or emergency services like the police and fire brigade, where there are far more roles and career paths available than people might realise. One of the advantages of job fairs like these, is that they create an informal environment where people can find out more about organisations they might not have previously thought would be suitable for them. We are already planning next year’s jobs fair and if you would be interested in finding out more about this event please do get in touch by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.