A YOUNG Barrhead woman has been praised at the Scottish Parliament for her efforts to highlight the horrors of the Holocaust.

Inspired by a visit to notorious death camp Auschwitz as a schoolgirl, Kirsty Robson decided to educate fellow pupils at Barrhead High about the senseless murder of millions of Jews during the Second World War.

She went on to become a regional ambassador for the Holocaust Educational Trust.

Now her work has been hailed at Holyrood by East Renfrewshire politician Paul O’Kane.

The West Scotland MSP, who is also a Labour councillor for Newton Mearns North and Neilston, spoke out during a debate to mark Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD).

Mr O’Kane also thanked East Renfrewshire Council and the local community for their “ongoing commitments to remembering the Holocaust,” as well as paying tribute to Giffnock woman Judith Rosenberg, who was Scotland’s last Auschwitz survivor prior to her death last year at the age of 98.

He described HMD as “an opportunity to remind ourselves of the pain and suffering of millions of persecuted people.”

Mr O’Kane added: “Days like this allow us to reflect on whether we are doing our best to call out current discrimination of any kind, whether that be racism, homophobia, transphobia or sexism.

“It was an honour for me to pay tribute to some remarkable people of past and present, such as Judith Rosenberg, who lived to tell the tale of the Holocaust in the most inspiring way, and Kirsty Robson, who does the incredibly important job of ensuring stories like Judith’s will live on forever.

“Only by educating our young people can we stop genocides from occurring and ensure hate doesn’t win.”

Eastwood MSP Jackson Carlaw also took part in the Holyrood debate and told how he has shed tears over the Holocaust.

The former leader of the Scottish Conservatives said: “Holocaust Memorial Day serves as a commemoration of those lost, not only in the Holocaust itself but in the multiple genocides of the near 80 years since.

“Importantly, it must remind us of an enduring and permanent duty, not just to pay lip service on days like this but to confront, challenge, educate and defeat the forces harbouring and perpetuating genocidal schemes and all that facilitate them.

“Like many, I have wept at the horror and barbarism of the Holocaust and the genocides of my lifetime.

“Have we failed? Sometimes, it overwhelmingly feels like we have. What must our response be? There can be no other choice – we must re-dedicate ourselves to meeting the challenge every year, every decade, every generation.

“In so doing, we honour those that were lost and I know, as a Parliament and as a country, we will do this together.”

No room for complacency in bid to tackle hatred

East Renfrewshire’s MP has warned against complacency in tackling “the scourge of anti-Semitism.”

Kirsten Oswald spoke out during a debate in the House of Commons on Holocaust Memorial Day.

The SNP politician recounted testimonies shared by Holocaust survivors in East Renfrewshire and highlighted the importance of hearing their stories so they are preserved for future generations to learn from.

She said: “East Renfrewshire is home to the majority of Scotland’s Jewish population. We are a diverse, vibrant community and we are so very much the better for it.

“I am fortunate where I live that I have witnessed positive discussions and work within the community is happening in the most powerful way.

“However, the rising levels of intolerance, hatred and populist divisiveness – which is fanned online but exists in real life too – is cause for concern.

“As politicians, we have a duty and crucial role in ensuring that, whenever hate and anti-Semitism appears, we act and we root it out.”