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Jeremy Corbyn: “Do not allow anti-semitism to rise”

Labour Leader joined by Emily Thornberry to address Islington schoolchildren

04 February, 2019 — By Emily Finch

JEREMY Corbyn warned schoolchildren to “not allow anti-semitism in any form whatsoever to rise in our society” during his impassioned speech marking Holocaust Memorial Day on Monday.

The Islington North MP and Labour leader was speaking to the hundreds of gathered schoolchildren at Islington Assembly Hall. His speech came straight after a half-hour talk by the daughter of a Holocaust survivor.

Mr Corbyn told the crowd he had made many trips to former concentration camps throughout Europe including in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. He detailed his visit to Auschwitz, one of Nazi-occupied Poland’s most notorious extermination camps, with his wife a few years ago.

He said: “When Lara and I went to Auschwitz it was a bitterly cold January day, a bit like today but much, much colder.

“You realise people trying to survive in those concentration camps had almost nothing to eat in that freezing cold, no heat or clothing, or anything else. The cruelty and abuse of it. All for what?

“A hatred of somebody because they were Jewish.”

He then told the students: “Do not allow anti- semitism in any form whatsoever to rise in our society. Do not allow racism in any form to rise in our society.” Critics of the Labour leader have said that he has allowed anti-semitism to thrive within his party – a criticism he has strongly denied. Mr Corbyn also said that “something has gone wrong” within the education system, citing figures from the weekend about Holocaust denial in Britain.

He said: “It’s quite shocking that 1 in 20 of our population apparently questioned the Holocaust ever happened. I find that deeply shocking that any- one should question what actually happened. It shows us that something has gone wrong in our education that there are people who believe that.”

He told the schoolchildren from Holloway School and St Mary Magdalene Academy that “we must never ever allow any genocide anywhere, we must never allow the vile evil of the Holocaust to rise up anywhere else again in our world.”

He added: “It’s up to all of us to make sure it never does. That surely has to be the message of Islington Holocaust Memorial Day.”

Islington South MP Emily Thornberry and the shadow foreign secretary spoke of her Jewish mother-in-law from Henley and their fears that they may be persecuted after a German invasion of Britain.

Emily Thornberry at the Islington Assembly Hall 

“We need to think about the way we treat one another and the way we make sure we share our home. We have to remember that there is no such thing as the ‘other’,” she said.

Speaking after the meet- ing, Mr Corbyn told the Tribune: “It was very powerful, very moving and a real credit to our borough. The schoolchildren were completely silent and mesmerised by it [the Holocaust survivor’s story].”

Correction: Auschwitz was located in Nazi-occupied Poland, not Poland

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