It is not widely known that at the end of the Second World War the great film director Alfred Hitchcock worked on a documentary about Nazi concentration camps. Hitchcock was said to be so upset by the footage – shot by the British Army Film Unit when the Belsen camp was liberated – that he couldn’t bear to return to Pinewood Studios for a week.
In the event, the finished documentary was not released and parts of it were long thought lost. The missing footage has now been painstakingly restored by the Imperial War Museum and the completed film, entitled Memory of the Camps will be released later this year.
Reports of Hitchcock’s distress are a timely reminder that, within living memory, greater atrocities have been committed than those concocting even the most disturbing fiction.
Remembering the devastating consequences of anti-Semitism matters now and will forever.
So, last week in the House of Commons, it was a privilege to sign the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment, honouring those who died as well as the extraordinary survivors of mass murder who labour tirelessly to educate young people about what they witnessed and endured. The Trust works with schools to help young people from every background learn about the Holocaust and what important lessons the events of the war have to teach us.
This Holocaust Memorial Day yesterday marked the 69th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, the site of the largest mass murder in history – the darkest crime of a dark time. It is our duty to remember the victims and survivors of the Holocaust and for us all to take time to reflect.