Anglican Archbishop Remembers Holocaust

The Archbishop of Canterbury has given an exhortation to use our voice to speak for others in a video recorded for Holocaust Memorial Day.

Speaking to the theme of "Speak Up, Speak Out," Dr. Rowan Williams said that, Holocaust Memorial Day brings back to our minds the appalling consequences of a situation where people don't speak for the neighbour and don't speak for the stranger; where people are concerned about their own security, their own comfort zones."

"So in our commemoration this year we are encouraged to challenge ourselves: who do we speak for?" he continued. "Are we willing to speak for the neighbour and for the stranger, for people like us and also people who are not like us? Are we willing to take risks alongside one another?"

Williams went on to note one of his predecessors, Archbishop William Temple, one of the founders of the Council of Christians and Jews in the UK, which recently commemorated its 70th Anniversary.

"I very much hope that that witness will be part of what we take forward into the next generation; a generation where these issues will not be stale and they will not be academic, and where we will go on being challenged as to who we speak for," Williams said.

"Our words may not be very loud, they may not instantly change everything, but they will change something: they will change us, they will change at least one neighbour - they will make some strangers into neighbours. And that is profoundly and eternally worth doing."

Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) was created on 27 January 2000, when representatives from 44 governments around the world met in Stockholm to discuss Holocaust education, remembrance and research.

At the end of this meeting, all attendees signed a declaration committing to preserving the memory of those who have been murdered in the Holocaust, under Nazi persecution and in subsequent genocides. This declaration became the statement of commitment which is still used as a basis for HMD activities today.

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