UK Parliament marks 80 years since it was told of the Holocaust

Led by Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle, UK Parliament held a moment of silence to mark 80 years since the UK recognized the Holocaust.

 British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks during the Prime Minister's Questions at the House of Commons in London, Britain, December 14, 2022 (photo credit: UK PARLIAMENT/JESSICA TAYLOR/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks during the Prime Minister's Questions at the House of Commons in London, Britain, December 14, 2022
(photo credit: UK PARLIAMENT/JESSICA TAYLOR/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

UK Parliament stood together for a moment of silence on Thursday afternoon to mark 80 years since the House of Commons was first officially made aware of the Holocaust.

On December 17, 1942, then-foreign secretary Anthony Eden confirmed in a speech to the House of Commons that European Jews were being exterminated by Nazi Germany.

The moment was received with great emotion and the House of Commons stood together in an impromptu, emotional moment of silence.

On Thursday, 80 years later almost to the day, Hoyle led a one-minute moment of silence to mark the historic occasion. Holocaust survivors were in attendance, standing among UK Parliament in the Speakers Gallery.

 German soldiers are seen marching in Warsaw following the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939. (credit: FLICKR) German soldiers are seen marching in Warsaw following the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939. (credit: FLICKR)

UK Prime Minister shared photos of the moment of silence

"80 years ago, Parliament listened in stunned silence as the truth of the Holocaust was spoken in the House of Commons for the very first time," said UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, sharing photographs of the moment of silence on social media. "Today, in the presence of survivors, we stand together to remember and to reaffirm that truth."

"It takes a lot to quieten the House of Commons, but 80 years ago MPs were spontaneously stunned into silence after it was confirmed that the Nazis were responsible for the systematic mass murder of the Jewish population in Europe," Hoyle said when the moment of silence was first announced. 

"Given the genocides that have occurred since and the horrific war crimes that are taking place in Ukraine now, it is important that we mark this significant anniversary with the people who survived the Holocaust. We will never forget those heinous crimes. And we will stamp out antisemitism and prejudice in all its forms, wherever we find it," he concluded.