Antisemitism in Parliament ‘unacceptable’, says Holocaust survivor

A Holocaust survivor has spoken of her concern about antisemitism from “people in Parliament”.

Mala Tribich MBE made the remarks as she and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt unveiled a bust of British intelligence office Frank Foley during a remembrance event on Wednesday.

Ms Tribich received a standing ovation as she told the event of her experience surviving the Ravensbruck and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps.

“I didn’t think (antisemitism) would come to this point where it comes from the top. It comes from educated people in Parliament and that really is unacceptable,” the 88-year-old told the Press Association.

Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration event
A bust of Frank Foley unveiled at the annual Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration event at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, London (Tolga Akmen/PA)

“For someone who survived, it is particularly unacceptable and they can learn from the Holocaust by seeing what this behaviour leads to.

“We should tell the world that this shouldn’t happen again.”

The Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration event was co-hosted by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office with the Israeli Embassy, and saw candles lit in tribute as well as a memorial prayer.

Lord Pickles, UK Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues, echoed Ms Tribich’s concerns about antisemitism and Holocaust denial during the ceremony opening.

The former Conservative party chairman said: “If you decided after this ceremony to look on the web to get more information, you will find that the second most popular website is the American Holocaust Museum.

“The number one you might expect to be Auschwitz, but in fact it’s a Holocaust denial site and the gap between first and second place is enormous.

“Antisemitism and Holocaust denial are two sides of the same coin. If you choose to throw that coin in the air, look where it lands, it matters not, because what will be staring back at you is pure evil.”

Mr Hunt’s speech paid tribute to Major Foley, the MI6 agent who went undercover in the late 1930s and saved thousands of Jews by helping them escape Nazi Germany.

Mr Hunt said: “We should reflect that it was not the state as a whole but remarkable individuals like Frank Foley who did the right thing and made the correct moral choice, often in defiance of the rules.

“Even as we take pride in the memory of Frank Foley, we should never lose sight of the hard truth that when the crucial moment came, and the moral test was posed, there were too few people like him.”