Worthing Holocaust gatherings matched by people across the world

The Holocaust gatherings in and around Worthing were matched by people coming together across the nation and in a growing number of countries.

Sir Peter Bottomley, MP for West Worthing
Sir Peter Bottomley, MP for West Worthing

The tragedy of whole peoples being targeted for elimination is not a single event. The tragedy is a series. Few empires were innocent.

Killing enemy soldiers outside active combat is bad enough; aiming to kill all members of a race or religion is awful.

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There is a bad example of the former in chapter 12 of the Book of Judges. The Gileadites defeated the Ephraimites and then slaughtered 42,000, identifying them by how they said the word ‘shibboleth’.

Sir Peter Bottomley signing Holocaust Book of Commitment

The opposite action was the decision of the British Government in 1939 to declare war on Nazi Germany if they did not suspend all aggressive action against Poland and withdraw their forces.

That history is familiar to me; it may not be to everyone. I do not know the age of the correspondent who thought I had suggested that the extermination camp at Auschwitz was run by Poles. I have amended last week’s article to make plain that Sobibor and Auschwitz were established by the Nazis in occupied Poland.

|Also in the news - as the cold snap continues across the country a warning has been issued for a high chance of ‘heavy snow’ in Sussex; the success of The Park View pub has been celebrated with a visit from Worthing West MP Sir Peter Bottomley; and a woman who was taken to hospital following a collision in Shoreham on Monday has sadly died of her injuries, police confirmed|

Additionally, perhaps I was mistaken in assuming that we all knew the full story of the fate of Otto Frank, who survived Auschwitz unlike his daughters Anne and Margot who were transferred to die at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, probably a few weeks before my cousin George Woodwark was one of the first British medics to start caring for the liberated prisoners in April 1945.

Sir Peter Bottomley MP for Worthing West constituency (centre) with Steve Pease (licensee) and Sarah Bramley (Star Pubs & Bars area manager) at the Park View pub in Durrington after its refurbishment Photograph taken by Simon Dack

If any reader ever thinks I have written inaccurately or too loosely, do please make contact.

I am happy to correct mistakes or to clarify unintended ambiguity.

We are to leave the European Union though we should agree suitable terms for withdrawal, make sensible arrangements for transition and then agree future agreements with the EU27 and with the rest of the world.

I thank everyone who has told me or sent a message giving their views, agreeing or disagreeing with me or with the Prime Minister who I support in her endeavours to find where what is right matches what can be made possible.

My case work team and I shared an advice session with local councillors at the Durrington Tesco store. The dominant view was that Theresa May is doing all she can in the public interest.

I am glad Labour’s leader Jeremy Corbyn is now speaking with her to understand what each believes might now be agreed with the European negotiators. I try to avoid giving a running commentary, though on Tuesday I did contribute to a long BBC radio interview. You never know which part might be selected and whether the context will be clear.

There are times when professional radio editors can make remarks appear better than they were. The same skills are used in every article in every edition in every newspaper. We can each be grateful.

We can also thank our hoteliers, restaurateurs and publicans for all they do. Every day, with their backroom and customers-serving colleagues, they give a welcome to newcomers and to regulars. In recent days, I joined a happy group in the Rustington Manor Hotel, the Mahaan restaurant in central Worthing and the hosts at The Park View, the renewed public house in Salvington Road, Durrington.

This weekend I shall join Julian Filochowski and local Roman Catholics to reflect on the life, the works and the martyrdom of Saint Oscar Romero. He faced challenges: they included an unsympathetic hierarchy, the confrontational government and their dangerous paramilitaries, together with his mission to give preference to the poor, the vulnerable and the civic leaders who were persecuted.

There are lessons for all of us from his life, his death and his inspiration.


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