SUNDAY is Holocaust Memorial Day, the day when we remember the genocide of six million Jews murdered, and millions of others murdered under the Nazi persecution, and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.

In the grand scheme of history, the holocaust only took place yesterday.

However, the lessons of it have not been learned; indeed over time you have holocaust deniers, you have the creeping voice of anti-Semitism becoming a norm in British society, and yet we have to remember, we have to learn what happened in the concentration camps.

People often ask why did the Jews not fight back, why did they allow themselves to be led like lambs to the slaughter.

The Jewish bravery was not through physical battle, but through keeping family ties strong, through keeping their faith alive when others tried to extinguish it, through being able to share that little morsel of bread with someone else, despite the gnawing pain of hunger.

In the winter of 1944/45 during the Death Marches, when Jews were forced to march away from the camps back into Germany as the Russians approached, night approached and two Jews who barely had any clothes on had to lie in the snow in the freezing temperatures, no blanket, no coat, just their flimsy striped uniform.

They knew that they had to huddle close to one another and had to rub each other. If they would stop rubbing they would freeze to death. To survive and keep warm, their only option was through helping and caring.

This story is so applicable to our times. We live in cold times, times where there may not be the same empathy and care that we used to show to our friends and neighbours, people are so engrossed on their screens, and in their homes, and do not interact with one another.

We must reclaim past principles, we must show care to our friends and neighbours, otherwise not only do they ‘freeze’, but our hearts also freeze. As we commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day, remember the principles of faith and love that kept people alive.

Rabbi Amir Ellituv

Shaare Hayim Congregation

Altrincham Interfaith Group