Waltham Forest Unite Against Fascism (UAF) and Amnesty International held a Holocaust Memorial Day public meeting at Harmony Hall in Walthamstow last Sunday.
Speakers included Maria Tribich (a Holocaust survivor), Green MEP Jean Lambert, Weyman Bennett (UAF) and Ladislav Balaz (Roma Representative from the Czech Republic).
Some 100 people came along to remember the terrible spectre of the Nazi Holocaust, and to discuss the continued threat of fascism today.
Maria Tribich gave a personal account of what it was like to grow up under the Nazi regime in Poland. As a young girl she spent her days as a slave labourer. Her talk was a stark reminder of what fascism would mean today.
The point was made that we should never forget that it was not just Jews that were killed, and that no one was safe. People of any ethnicity considered inferior by the Nazis, trade unionists, socialists, prisoners of war, religious practitioners, homosexuals, and the disabled were all slaughtered in their thousands.
Speakers focused on the plight of the Roma across Europe, who over the last few years of crisis have come under increased attack in France, Holland and here in Britain. Anti-Roma racism is also strong in Hungary and Czech Republic.
One of the most important points to be raised however was that we should celebrate resistance to the Nazi regime.
The message was clear. Wherever fascism rears its ugly head we must be ready to resist and to squash it with maximum determination.
All in all, this meeting helped to raise the profile of Unite Against Fascism in the local area and as a national organisation. It served as a platform for continued anti-fascist work and to build for the UAF national conference on 25 February.