BEFORE I visited Auschwitz with the Holocaust Education Trust, I was given the chance to speak with Zigi Shipper, a Polish octogenarian who had survived the Nazi concentration camp.

As with all the charity's school visits to Auschwitz, the 200 pupils from Glasgow I accompanied first listened to the in-person testimony of a survivor.

As Mr Shipper told the pin-drop silent room of teenagers about how he wished others in the cattle truck that transported them to the death camp might die so he would have room to sit down, I vividly recall a girl in front of me quietly crying.

He had been 14, around the age of the school pupils involved in the HET project, and this connecting link seemed to really affect them.

On the trip itself, in 2010, the group of 15-year-olds were impeccably behaved, stunned into a grave silence as we toured the concentration camp.

I was speaking to a colleague about this the other day, and mentioned that I've never seen more captivated and better behaved young people. He was surprised. He had done the same trip last year and witnessed young people who were intent on viewing the experience through the screens of their mobile phones.

Selfies were being taken; kids were posing up on the train tracks.

In that decade between visits, could attitudes and standards of behaviour have changed so significantly? According to the countless stories online about those who take inappropriate photos at historic sites such as Auschwitz-Birkenau and the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, it seems so.

Changes in mobile technology and how we use social media account for this, but so too does the passage of time have an influence on how we feel about historic events.

Only one more decade has passed, a wink of an eye, eternity-wise, but so many fewer Holocaust survivors still live to tell us their stories with the immediacy that only personal testimony gives.

Last week I had the privilege of sitting down with another Holocaust survivor. Judith Rosenberg was transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau from her home in Hungary in 1944.

She was not, understandably, comfortable talking about her time in the camp, preferring to move on to liberation and meeting her beloved husband, Harold. The change in Mrs Rosenberg's demeanour from talking about the camp to talking of liberation was quite stunning to see.

But one thing she said, repeatedly, that stayed with me was that people are not interested in her story. They are, she said, caught up in their own lives. I don't believe it's entirely true that people are no longer interested in the testimony of Holocaust survivors but I find it troubling that that is how Mrs Rosenberg perceives it.

We cannot afford to no longer take an interest in survivor testimony.

Yesterday the Scottish Government announced a £500,000 fund for places of worship to install security measures to protect against hate crime, following similar provision for England and Wales. The announcement was made at Garnethill Synagogue in Glasgow, an announcement that pulls you up short.

Where are we that our faith communities have petitioned for government money to guard them from hatred and violence?

Also in Glasgow, on Saturday, members of the Roma community met to unveil a new holocaust memorial. The original Romani Rose Tree Memorial in Queen's Park was vandalised last year, the plaque ripped from its base. The mindless thugs behind the destruction likely didn't think too much about it.

They likely didn't think about the thousands of Roma people murdered in the gas chambers of Auschwitz or how this sort of attack on a memorial makes members of the community feel unsafe, violated.

Across Europe right wing parties and policies are taking hold. In Mrs Rosenberg's country of birth, Hungary, Viktor Orbán, the prime minister, persists in a dog whistle campaign against George Soros, the Jewish philanthropist. In the country where she was held, a law was passed making it illegal to accuse Poland of complicity in the Holocaust.

Here, the country she had made home, the Labour party has failed to robustly tackle accusations of anti-Semitism.

A recent research poll in the US by the Pew institute found that fewer than half of people surveyed realised Hitler had been democratically voted in as German chancellor.

Distance from an event causes complacency but in countering anti-Semitism, sectarianism, Islamophobia and racism there is no space to relax our vigilance.

As Mrs Rosenberg tried to explain to me what it was like inside the cattle trucks in which she, her sister, parents and grandmother were taken to Auschwitz, she said, of me, "How can she understand it today? I wouldn't understand it if I was young and I was here."

It is impossible to truly understand what it can have been like for those who lived through the Holocaust, it can only fill us with horror and revulsion and a desire to never repeat the horrors of the past. As we reach a point where survivor testimony becomes a thing of the past, we must work ever harder to ensure the lessons of the past are remembered.

It's a point made countless times but a point that needs to be and must be repeated.