Martin Bennett, David Cameron, Josef Perl 370.
(photo credit: Blake Ezra Photography)
It is more important than ever to preserve the memory of the Holocaust, British
Prime Minister David Cameron said Monday night in London as he announced the
launch of a national commission to remember the Holocaust.
Speaking at an
event to mark 25 years of the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET), Cameron said:
“At a time when anti-Semitism is returning in some parts of mainland Europe, it
is more important than ever that – as a whole country – we do everything
possible to make sure that the memory of the Holocaust is preserved from
generation to generation.
“The Holocaust Educational Trust are leading
the way, and it is vital that they are supported,” he added.
commission, which is multi-faith and cross-party, aims to ensure Britain has a
permanent Holocaust memorial as well as educational resources. The commission is
said to include senior figures from the Jewish Community, with whom the
Holocaust Educational Trust will work as the key delivery partner. The British
prime minister announced that he will personally chair the first meeting, which
is expected to be held later this year. The commission will then report back to
Cameron, before the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Bergen-Belsen in
Some 500 guests and dignitaries attended the appeal dinner, which
was hosted by BBC Radio 4 World at One presenter Martha Kearney, and cosponsored
by Deutsche Bank.
During the evening, Cameron paid tribute to the
Holocaust survivors present, and emphasized the importance of Holocaust
education in Britain today. The prime minister also announced that the
government will increase its support for HET’s Lessons from Auschwitz project,
boosting its funding with an additional £300,000 every year. The project
provides students and teachers with the opportunity to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau
in the framework of an educational program. Cameron further affirmed that he
would visit the concentration camp in the coming year.
Ahead of his
speech, Cameron met with Holocaust survivors Gena Turgel MBE, Martin Bennett,
Josef Perl and Freda Wineman.
Among the guests at the dinner were the new
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, US Ambassador to the UK HE Matthew W. Barzun, and
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles
Karen Pollock MBE, HET’s chief executive, praised Cameron’s efforts:
“We welcome the lead that the prime minister has taken in safeguarding the
memory of the Holocaust for decades to come.
“We are delighted to be the
key partners in the delivery of this landmark initiative,” she said.
organization’s appeal film, featuring survivors and youth committed to keeping
alive the formers’ memories of the Holocaust, was screened during the course of
the evening. Holocaust Educational Trust: 2013 Appeal Film
from Holocaust Educational Trust