Liberal Democrats have distanced themselves from comments made by David Ward, MP for Bradford East, criticising Israeli aggression against Palestine.
Ward faced a party disciplinary hearing today after having used the occasion of Holocaust Memorial Day to accuse "the Jews" of inflicting atrocities on Palestinians on a daily basis.
Holocaust Educational Trust chief executive Karen Pollock said Ward had "deliberately abused the memory of the Holocaust, causing deep pain and offence - these comments are sickening and unacceptable and have no place in British politics."
Ward retorted that "everybody talks about this awful, awful time we must never forget and says we must learn lessons. Surely that means we must look at every example of man's inhumanity to fellow man?"
The MP's comments have led to polarised debate as individuals and organisations argue over the relationship between the Holocaust and Israeli brutality.
Labour's Gerald Kaufman spoke to the house of his Jewish upbringing and his family's persecution during the Holocaust, but added: "My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza. The present Israeli government has ruthlessly and cynically exploited the continuing guilt of gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust."
For Iby Knill, an Auschwitz survivor living in Leeds, Holocaust Memorial Day retains a universal message which has nothing to do with the Israeli state.
I first met Knill, pictured below, last year when I took my daughter to hear her speak about nazi persecution in a church hall in Leeds. I was immediately transported back to my childhood, listening to similar stories in our living room from Jewish refugees with whom we shared our lives in a curious part of Glasgow during the 1960s.
All had arrived thankful to escape with their lives. Some had been whisked away by Kindertransport or repatriated to these shores.
I grew up hearing conversations switch from English to French, German, Russian and Yiddish. Our lives resonated with echoes of the lost world of European Jewish society before fascism.
Knill escaped death in Auschwitz and was transferred to a slave labour camp in Lippstadt to run the factory hospital in 1944.
She subverted her position as a nurse and was "hauled up before the commandant for sabotaging the war effort by keeping people who were fit for work in hospital."
Few prisoners were really fit for anything, having become diseased, starved, traumatised and driven to exhaustion by the camp conditions.
I remember the tears splashing onto my daughter's hands as she listened to Knill's sweetly accented voice describing the speed with which Europe became divided by hatred.
"If you have a culture of 'us and them,' you are creating problems," Knill told us. "It's easier to instigate fear and hatred than goodwill and friendship, especially when a country is in financial difficulty."
In total 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz, of whom 1.1 million were murdered before Soviet troops liberated the death camp on January 27 1945.
They found several thousand prisoners, including 180 children who were suffering from acute frostbite. The skeletons huddled together in the cold were mostly the ill and dying.
All those who could walk had been marched by the nazis to a nearby city. The American Holocaust Archive records Fritzie Weiss Fritzshall's description of that journey.
"The streets were literally covered with bodies as we marched. We would pass body after body, people were dropping dead from hunger, from disease, from dysentery, because they did not have the strength or because they gave up..."
To this day Knill does not know why she survived Auschwitz.
"Perhaps I survived to bear witness, to talk to you, to build bridges between people," she tells me.
"What have I learned? What do I know? I know that human cruelty knows no bounds."
As a member of the Holocaust Survivors Friendship Association based in Leeds, Knill makes many public appearances to talk about her experiences.
There are so many events around Holocaust Memorial Day and fewer and fewer survivors to give first-hand accounts.
January 27 itself is always a "difficult, sad day.
"It should be a time when people remember that there is no limit to the cruelty that one person can inflict on another. One has to be very much aware of that. One has to learn to understand and respect that. We have to build bridges to have peace."
Knill is acutely aware that genocide is not limited to the experience of Jews, Roma or marginalised groups in World War II.
"People have to realise that genocide is taking place all over the world - the recent events in Algeria, the way things are going in Syria - it's frightening."
She doesn't like to be alone on Holocaust Memorial Day because "whether I like it or not it brings back memories" she could not speak of for decades. This year her son, who lives in Norway, came to be with her and attend an event in Leeds.
For 50 years Knill lived the life of an army officer's wife. She made his family, his country and its history her own as only someone with a lost identity can do.
Only after her husband's death, with her children having left home, did she feel the need - and the duty - to rediscover and write her own history, although it's probably more accurate to say her past never really let her go.
That's when she wrote Woman Without a Number. The book was intended for her grandchildren who knew nothing of their grandmother's early life.
Knill realised she had an opportunity to make people realise how invidious and destructive the spread of intolerance and of ethnic prejudice can be - not only on the recipients but on the instigators.
That's why she goes out and speaks of her experiences - though now in her 90th year, she admits: "I don't know how much longer I am going to be able to do this.
"The Holocaust Survivors Friendship Association is looking for volunteers to take over from us, to take a message and continue that, to become a group of people who support each other to spread the word.
"We take people any age. We have to learn to live together, we will keep on and keep on ... maybe we can make a difference.
"In a nursery, children will play with each other regardless of colour. Why can't this instinctive friendship stay? Why do people begin to differentiate because they are a different colour or different ethnicity or religion?
"We can teach our young people that prejudice is wrong, destructive to themselves. Hatred destroys the people who are feeling it just as much. It destroys them too."
Like the wide-eyed tots who walked through the snow to greet the Red Army, I was a child when I asked a question about Auschwitz in the family living room.
A silence fell. Then someone said: "Tell her, she has to know."
Though many years have passed since the Russians stared in disbelief at the little prisoners of Auschwitz, we must never stop asking why.
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