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Holocaust Memorial Day

Part of Wuhan Coronavirus – in the House of Commons at 12:47 pm on 23rd January 2020.

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Photo of Fabian Hamilton Fabian Hamilton Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs), Shadow Minister (Defence) 12:47 pm, 23rd January 2020

I rise, of course, to support the motion on Holocaust Memorial Day and to tell the House how proud I am to represent one of the largest Jewish communities in the United Kingdom, who have done so much over so many years—indeed, almost centuries—to enhance our city, benefit its people, and to work above and beyond just their community. There are about 8,500 Jewish people in Leeds, almost all of whom live in north-east Leeds.

In 2014, I did one of my charity bike rides—many Members may remember that I do one every year to raise funds for a good cause—to raise money for Donisthorpe Hall, which is a Jewish elderly persons’ nursing home in the constituency, and very wonderful it is, too. It depends very much on voluntary donations, so the purpose of my ride was to do a kind of Jewish pilgrimage, going from Donisthorpe to Drancy in Paris. Many Members may have heard of Drancy—it was the place from which the French Jews were deported to the concentration camps. Shortly before my epic ride to Paris from Leeds, I learned that my great-grandmother, Reina Sevilla, was deported from the Vél d’Hiv via Drancy to Birkenau concentration camp, where she was murdered in the gas chambers—a direct personal connection to the holocaust.