Gillian Mawdsley, a Policy Executive here at the Society, was invited to speak at a special event for Scottish civil servants last month to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2020.
Holocaust Memorial Day is held on 27 January every year to remember the six million Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust. In 2020 the day also marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau with a theme of Stand Together - exploring the tactics of genocidal regimes which have encouraged a fracturing of societies by marginalising certain groups. The message of Stand Together is that these tactics can be challenged by individuals standing together and speaking out against oppression.
This event, which was an internal event open to Scottish civil servants, was the first time that the subject of the Holocaust had been presented in this way to the Scottish Civil Service and to recognise Holocaust Memorial Day. It was followed by a perspective by Ephraim Borowski, Director Scottish Council of Jewish Communities.
The theme for Gillian's talk was a look at the often ignored role of the German civil servants and lawyers who co-ordinated the policy and law which delivered the murders of millions of European Jews and others. In particular to consider the normality of the processes that delivered the Final Solution by looking at the policy meeting that took place at the Wannsee Conference in 1942 and the relationship and the role of civil servants and lawyers in that policy delivery.
Gillian said: "It was an honour to be invited to speak at this important event on behalf of the Law Society, and to have received very positive feedback. I hope that marking Holocaust Memorial Day in this way is something which will continue in the coming years as it is important to remember that the Holocaust was not something which occurred in isolation. There were processes and structures which were followed in implementing policy decisions which are possibly even more frightening by their normality. Thankfully today policy initiatives in Scotland are more likely to be on subjects such as the forthcoming Hate Crime Bill which underlines that hate crime and prejudice is not acceptable in 21st Century Scotland."