Joan Salter, 77, who was separated from her Polish-Jewish family during the war, said: “[It is] comforting to assume that civilisation is a one-way street, when in fact experience teaches us that it is but a thin veneer, very easily torn away. Germany yesterday could so easily become Britain tomorrow. In recent times, we have seen the splintering of social cohesion, the growing willingness to express extreme views, the ability of some to act out their intolerance with violent acts, the lack of respect for those of different cultures. We live in dangerous times.”
Mala Tribich, who was born in Poland in 1930 and sent to camps at Ravensbrück and Bergen-Belsen during the second world war, said: “People have been asking over the years, ‘Has the world learned anything from the Holocaust?’ And we have to admit, not a lot. But there are lessons to be learned, if only to show what racism and discrimination can lead to.”
Peter Lantos, lost 22 members of his family in the Holocaust, said: “We are the last generation to bear witness. When we die, no one can say ‘I was there’ ..." Lantos, who became prisoner 8,431 in Bergen-Belsen aged five after being deported from his home in Hungary, said The Holocaust was key to “understanding how an evil ideology, when not opposed properly, can triumph”, he added.