Stewart Maxwell (West Scotland) (SNP): 16. To ask the Scottish Government what support it provides to Holocaust educational programmes. (S4O-00934)
The Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s Languages (Dr Alasdair Allan): At a reception last Wednesday, on the eve of Yom Hashoah, the Jewish community’s day for commemorating and reflecting on the Holocaust, I was pleased to share my experiences of visiting Auschwitz with Scottish students as part of the Holocaust Educational Trust’s lessons from Auschwitz project.
Stewart Maxwell: I am delighted to hear that the minister attended that event in the Parliament. I attended the Yom Hashoah event at Giffnock synagogue on the same evening.
The minister will be aware of the gathering the voices initiative, which has gathered an invaluable collection of oral testimonies from Holocaust survivors who sought sanctuary in Scotland. The project has been a success in highlighting the positive contribution that Holocaust survivors have made to Scottish society. The project team is currently exploring how to build on the work that it has done so far. Is the minister willing to arrange a meeting between the organisers of the gathering the voices project and his officials to discuss how best to take the project forward?
Dr Allan: I thank the member for those comments. They are particularly appropriate because, at the reception last week, we were fortunate enough to be joined by Henry and Ingrid Wuga, who faced persecution by the Nazis in occupied Europe before leaving all that they had known and eventually choosing Scotland as their new home. I recognise the value and importance of capturing the testimonies of Holocaust survivors and refugees and their reflections on life in Scotland. Therefore, I am happy to ask officials to meet the project organisers to explore how best to capture testimonies about those most important parts of our history from around Scotland.