Holocaust survivor shares her experiences at extremism summit

Published Friday 22 June 2018 at 15:01

A 95-year-old Holocaust survivor was among special guests addressing a conference to increase understanding and help prevent extremism.

The Extremism Summit, was held at Blackburn Town Hall and welcomed Iby Knill, a survivor of the Holocaust who was imprisoned in Auschwitz Birkenau in 1944.

The event was hosted by Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Community Safety Team and had a particular focus on far right extremism, addressing recent developments and activity across the country.

Held at Blackburn Town Hall, it was attended by professionals from across Lancashire including the NHS, Local Authorities, Prison and Probation Services and Counter Terrorism Police.

Iby, author of `The Woman without a number’ and British Empire Medal holder, spoke to the audience of the horrors of the Holocaust and discussed the dangers of radicalization, noting how we should learn from the mistakes of the past to ensure it doesn’t reoccur.

She bravely recounts her experiences, speaking in schools across the country to help people understand how destructive the spread of intolerance and prejudice of an ethnic group can be.

She added:

Unless we can teach people to understand each other, to tolerate and respect the differences, there really is no future for mankind.

The audience also heard from experts including Professor Matthew Feldman and Leicester’s Prevent Coordinator Sean Arbuthnot . They spoke of the current national picture of the far right and the role of front line staff and the public in preventing extremism from occurring in communities.

Cllr Shaukat Hussain, Executive Member of Neighbourhood and Prevention Services, said:

It was extremely powerful to hear from the speakers who are working to transform lives and ultimately protect communities.

We all have a role to play in making sure that we share and learn from past experiences. We need to do what we can to prevent people, from any section of the community, from being drawn into extremism and radicalisation.

The Council’s Prevent Team oversees and delivers a number of initiatives aimed at a cross section of society to address all forms of extremism as part of its Prevent and Counter Extremism Strategies.  This includes working with education establishments, faith communities, third sector organisations and statutory partners delivering training, outreach and engagement activities.

If you have any concerns about extremism or radicalization, do not rely on someone else – ACT. Find out about what kind of activity and behaviour you should report on the Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) website.  You can report it in confidence on the anti-terrorist hotline 0800 789 321or to the local police on concern@lancashire.pnn.police.uk

Further information is available on: https://www.blackburn.gov.uk/Pages/Counter-terrorism.aspx

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