British PM: Holocaust remembrance is more important then ever

David Cameron announces launch of a national commission, dedicated to preserving memories of the Holocaust.

Martin Bennett, David Cameron, Josef Perl 370 (photo credit: Blake Ezra Photography)
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.
The 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 2015.
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 MP.
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.
The 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 on Vimeo.