HMD 2017: Melissa’s Story

Scotland’s national event this year is hosted by Bishopbriggs Academy.  Melissa and Scott, both S6 pupils in the school will host the event.  We asked Melissa to write a short blog about why she was asked and how she feels about the prospect… 

This year I have had the incredible honour of being asked to MC Scotland’s National Holocaust Memorial Day Event. After visiting Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Birkenau, and discovering the atrocities faced by inmates of the camps, it has been a privilege to be involved in this year’s commemoration events. It is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and a unique experience to pay tribute to those murdered in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides around the world.

This year’s theme of “how can life go on” particularly resonated with me after having met Monika Goldwasser – a survivor of the Holocaust – earlier this year in Poland and hearing her moving story of how she coped and moved on with her life after discovering her Jewish heritage and the parents she had lost during the war. Monika’s story is just one of many tales of extraordinary courage adopted by those whose lives were drastically changed by this genocide and in genocides since. Instead of wallowing in the grief of the life she had lost and the family she had never known, Monika made the inspirational decision to tell her story and work tirelessly along with others to educate future generations of the devastation caused by genocide.

One word that springs to mind when attempting to understand the Holocaust and subsequent genocides is ‘counterintuitive’. For me, it is impossible to understand why genocide happens, it just doesn’t make sense. However, the important lesson to take away from this year’s memorial events is that we must work together to move on from tragedies such as these and continue working to create an equal society, free of hate and discrimination.


Author: Paul Daly

Parliamentary & Media Freelancer at Interfaith Scotland, Advocacy & Activism Officer at Amnesty International in Scotland and board member of Friends of the Earth Scotland.

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