So how does life go on? It's impossible to answer that. For those like Joe that survived, life went on in different ways. For them, the Holocaust isn't something that happened in history. It isn't just a lesson in a classroom or a page in a textbook. It's something they live with every day of their lives.
This Holocaust Memorial Day, think about what you can do on your campuses and communities to ensure that life can continue for those who are confronted with hate, discrimination, and intolerance. We are still within living memory of the most inhumane actions of the 21st Century, but the chance to hear from those who learnt to live again is slowly becoming more and more difficult.
What I wish for is a world where people, irrespective of their background, race, religion or beliefs, are treated with respect. We must all stand together against xenophobia, prejudice and hatred and learn from each other's differences.
And perhaps above all, we can commit ourselves to always remembering, and striving to understand, the darkest hour in modern history, and vowing that we will never again allow the attitudes of prejudice and hatred that enabled the Holocaust, to grip our society.
At its core, Holocaust Memorial Day brings together people from all backgrounds and from all corners of society, united in a shared aim of learning lessons from the past to create a safer, better future. From schools to museums, workplaces to places of worship and even in youth detention centres and prisons, the diversity of those taking part couldn't be more apparent.
The holocaust was unique in terms of scale, but the intervening seventy years of atrocities and attempted examinations have proved that the human capacity for destruction remains undiminished.
This year's theme for Holocaust Memorial Day is 'Don't Stand By', and of course, the heroics of Sir Nicholas Winton - he was knighted for his efforts in 2003 - naturally spring to all of our minds when we consider what it means to stand up and be counted. We know, unfortunately, that prejudice, intolerance, racism, even antisemitism, continue to blight out world. Genocide, we know, has happened since the Holocaust, and murderous regimes continue to hold power throughout the world.
As we see a worrying resurgence of scapegoating and far right extremist politics, we must do more to ensure that students of all ages can benefit from that lesson of history, and not just in the class room. Educating future leaders and building a stronger society through active citizens is the only way we can be assured that we will never forget the Holocaust.
Today is Holocaust Memorial Day. Today is the day to remember and honour these brave men and other heroes who refused to stand by in the face of evil. And not just during the Second World War.
It is not a question of whether we can forgive a seemingly unforgivable atrocity; we, as the third party to events, cannot. Yet, the increased interest that forgiveness has been given over the preceding decades, as the post-witness era draws closer, is a telling sign that by exploring forgiveness there may be much to learn.
I believe that memorialisation without action is part of the problem. The 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau is as good a time as any to deliver that message.
It's how and why the memories of one of the darkest moments in human history should be kept alive that formed the theme of the film. And during the months making it I was struck by the myriad of ways those who suffered the atrocities of the Holocaust have chosen to pass their memories on. How they refuse to allow the echo of what they witnessed fade.
Anne wrote, "How wonderful it is that no-one need wait, but can start right now to gradually change the world". Anne Frank, as we mark seven decades since your agonised protracted death at Nazi hands, please know that you really did help to change the world.
We are often told that as Jews, we should end our "unhealthy obsession" with the Holocaust; that it is now time to move on. Whilst this may seem sacrilegious to some, as an educator, I would like to suggest that perhaps we do need to re-evaluate the messages that we take from this darkest period of recent Jewish history and their long term import.
We commemorate the Holocaust because morality demands it of us. We oppose today's antisemitism because it must be opposed, not because we believe that another European Holocaust is likely.
Countries have to face up honestly to the dark periods of their own national history, to their own collaboration, complicity or reluctance to do the right thing in response.