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UK Prime Minister Launches Holocaust Commission


Prime Minister Cameron launched a new UK Holocaust Commission the week of 27 January. 

The commission will work to ensure Britain has a permanent memorial to the Holocaust and educational resources for future generations.

“Survivors have played a vital role in keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive, but we will not always have these remarkable individuals with us. We face a real danger that, as the events of the Holocaust become ever more distant, they feel increasingly remote to current and future generations,” said Cameron. 

The Commission includes representation from across society including actress Helena Bonham Carter, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, cross-party representation from Ed Balls, Michael Gove and Simon Hughes, broadcaster Natasha Kaplinsky, educator Dame Helen Hyde, the Arts Council’s Sir Peter Bazalgette and, from the world of business, Leo Noé and Ruby McGregor-Smith. 

The Commission is chaired by Mick Davis of the Jewish Leadership Council, who stated “The Holocaust stands alone as the darkest hour in human history. Our task is to recommend in addition to what is already done in the United Kingdom, the appropriate way for it to be commemorated so that the memory and lessons of the Holocaust remain central and relevant for future generations.”

The work of the commission will be supported by 2 expert groups investigating Holocaust education and commemorative events, memorials and museums. The groups will be chaired by commissioners Dame Helen Hyde and Sir Peter Bazalgette respectively. Expert group members include historian Dr Simon Sebag Montefiore, Director-General of the Imperial War Museum Diane Lees and Holocaust survivors Ben Helfgott and Jack Kagan.

The commission will report its findings to the Prime Minister by the end of the year.

Commission member Helena Bonham Carter, whose grandfather Eduardo Propper de Callejon was posthumously recognized for his role in saving hundreds of Jews during the Second World War, stated, “It is our generations’ legacy to create a living memory that will survive the survivors and forever remind future generations of the inhumanity man is capable of committing to its own kind.”

A public call for evidence will run until the end of May this year, with people across the United Kingdom invited to submit their views. A number of regional evidence sessions will also be held to hear from interested parties in person. A young person will also be selected from responses to the call for evidence to join the commission as a youth representative.

To learn more, view a video about the work of the Commission and don’t forget to tweet using the hashtag #HolocaustCommission.