MPs fall silent marking the day 80 years ago when the Commons was told of the Holocaust

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

MPs fall silent marking the day 80 years ago when the Commons was told of the Holocaust

House falls quiet for “tribute to all those who suffered at the hands of the Nazis”, witnessed by seven survivors.

MPs observe moments silence the Commons
MPs observe moments silence the Commons

MPs have observed a one-minute silence in the House of Commons to mark the 80th anniversary of the declaration on the persecution of the Jews.

The declaration is described by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust as the first public announcement by the British government on the Nazis’ attempt to murder Europe’s Jewish population.

The declaration took place on December 17, 1942, and reports from the time say that in response, MPs rose spontaneously and stood for a moment in silence.

Marking the anniversary in the Commons chamber on Thursday were both Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, alongside other MPs, including the entire shadow cabinet.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle told the House that seven survivors of the Holocaust were present in the gallery to witness the commemoration, alongside representatives of Britain’s Jewish community and the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.

He said:”Today, we are honoured to be joined in the Gallery by seven survivors of the holocaust, representatives of Britain’s Jewish community and the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.

“As an exception, and because this is such a poignant moment, I have agreed that the Parliamentary Broadcasting Unit and our House of Commons photographer can capture images of them here today.

“To remember that important moment, and as a tribute to all those who suffered at the hands of the Nazis, I now invite the House to join me for a minute of silent reflection.”

Amongst the survivors at the unique and emotional ceremony was Mala Tribich MBE.

The names of all seven survivors were read out in the Commons later by Penny Mordaunt, the Leader of the House.

The government’s independent antisemitism adviser Lord Mann was also in attendance.

Survivors attend the Commons minutes silence

Sir Lindsay described it as an “important moment” and a “tribute to all those who suffered at the hands of the Nazis”.

He said: “Before we start our business, I wish to invite the House to commemorate a tragic and sombre event.

“On December 17, 1942, 80 years ago on Saturday, the then foreign secretary, Anthony Eden, read to the House a declaration issued by the wartime allies, condemning the treatment of Jewish people by the Nazis in occupied Europe.

“The declaration followed a diplomatic note sent to the allied powers a week earlier by the Polish foreign minister in exile, the first official report that the Holocaust was under way.

“The evil acts described in the declaration were and remain difficult to comprehend.”


Mordaunt later told MPs:”It was an historic moment to mark the 80th anniversary of the first time the House heard about what we now know as the holocaust.

“Because of that, I hope you will allow me just to put the names of the survivors who joined us today on record.

“Thank you to Mala Tribich MBE, Steven Frank BEM, Dr Alfred Garwood, John Hajdu MBE, Joan Salter MBE, Dr Martin Stern MBE and Yvonne Bernstein. I also thank the Holocaust Educational Trust and the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust for their work.”

For the Liberal Democrats Wera Hobhouse said she wished to pay her “respect to the survivors of the holocaust who came to Parliament this morning.”

She added:”Although I was not alive at the time, the shame will never leave me that these atrocities were committed by the country of my origin.”

Journalists were not allowed in the press gallery to observe the silence, but the moment was captured on Parliament’s broadcasting system.

Hoyle later tweeted he was “honoured to welcome seven survivors of the Holocaust and representatives of Britain’s Jewish community to Speaker’s House”.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: