Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Rt. Hon. Sajid Javid MP, deplored incidences of current antisemitism and outlined the ongoing plans for a British memorial to the Holocaust, in an address to Holocaust survivors on Sunday.
Addressing a gathering of nearly 100 survivors, who were contributing their thoughts on the design of the proposed Holocaust memorial and learning centre, due to be built beside Parliament.
The Communities Secretary said: “As the Shoah slides towards the edge of living memory, it becomes ever more important that we refuse to forget it… The UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre will stand as a permanent reminder of what happened”.
He emphasised: “Constructed right in the heart of our democracy, it will be impossible to ignore or overlook. It will be a lasting tribute both to those who died and to those who survived. And it will be a focal point for reflection and education that will ensure the Holocaust is remembered long after all of us in this room are gone. And I hope that, with your help, we can choose a design worthy of the 6 million men, women and children who must never be forgotten”.
Survivors were assessing, for the first time, their thoughts on the shortlist of 10 designs — from a field of 92 global entries.
The Communities Secretary underlined that it was “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build an inspiring, sobering memorial in a jaw-dropping location”.
He said: “We want a UK memorial that is truly national, one that speaks to the thoughts and feelings and experiences of British survivors”.
Mr Javid said that those who felt it was not necessary to have a Holocaust memorial “could not be more wrong. In recent weeks, we have seen people proudly marching through an American city with swastika flags held high. We have seen Jewish children as young as eight being chased through London by a man shouting the foulest of antisemitic abuse”.