Holocaust Memorial Day 2006
On 27th January Aurora members, with Jewish people, handicapped people, and people of many ethnic and other minorities, attended the celebration of victims of the Holocaust and signed the Holocaust Memorial Day pledge. Only a handful of the 60,000 who were sent to the concentration camps as homosexuals survived when prisoners were released. In 2004 fewer than ten were still living.
But the ceremony concentrated on individualswho made a difference:
One was Rosa Parks the unassuming black woman who refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man, and sparked off the civil rights movement in the USA.
Paul Rusesabagina managed the Rwanda Hotel and managed to shelter 1268 people from the Rwanda genocide of 1994.
Gad Beck was 18 in 1941 when he took a leadership role in the Zionist resistance in Berlin. He was openly gay, and when Manfred Lewin, his first boyfriend, was detained, along with his family, Beck disguised himself as a member of the Hitler Youth to rescue him. In 1943 he became leader of the Chug Ghaluzi, responsible for hiding and feeding the remaining Jews in and around Berlin, by enlisting help from his partner and non-Jewish, gay friends.
Oscar Shindler, Raoul Wallenberg, Irena Sendlerowa, Varian Fry, Jan Karski, Albert Badane and many others who made it possible for thousands to escape the Nazi persecution.
The Holocaust Memorial Day Pledge
We honour the survivors still among us and re-affirm our shared goals of mutual understanding and justice.
We remember the victims of the Nazi persecution and of all genocide.
We vow to remember the sacrifices of those who have risked their lives to protect or rescue victims as a touchstone of the human capacity for good in the face of evil.
We recognise that humanity is still scarred by the belief that race or religion or disability or sexual orientation or gender or age makes some people's lives worth less than others.
We pledge to strengthen our continuing commitment of opposition to racism, anti-semitism, homophobia and discrimination on the grounds of disability, age, gender, nationality or religion.
We believe in a society centred on the ideals of peace, justice and community, where all people can live with dignity and respect.