Board of Deputies of British Jews President Marie van der Zyl today made a statement to the Holocaust Memorial public inquiry in which she said that “there is something uniquely powerful in locating a memorial and learning centre to humankind’s greatest crime right next to the centre of the UK’s democracy in Westminster.”
She said: “Crucially, it will give a voice to those who cannot speak out about what they endured. The diminishing group of Holocaust survivors have themselves said how important it is to have a memorial on a specific and important site.
She added that while Britain has a mixed record in its response to the Nazis’ attempted genocide, the memorial and learning centre would “recognise this duality”.
This will not be a memorial which will only be relevant to Jews, she said. “It will provide a stark lesson about the horrors of racism and persecution have been high on the news agenda too: whether it be the systemic racism that Black people suffer on both sides of the Atlantic, or the state-backed persecution of the Uyhgurs in China.”
While it could be a target for terrorists, this should not deter those responsible for building the memorial and learning centre. “I reflect that the UK Jewish community has painfully learned over the past 50 years, schools and synagogues need to be protected against those who would do us harm. What we have not done, however, is to close down those centres of prayer and Jewish learning. We have carried on, proudly, as British Jews.”
Read the full text of the statement here