UK government okays plan for new Holocaust memorial outside Parliament

A virtual model of the proposed Holocaust memorial in Victoria Tower Gardens outside the UK Parliament. (Screen capture/YouTube)
A virtual model of the proposed Holocaust memorial in Victoria Tower Gardens outside the UK Parliament. (Screen capture/YouTube)

The British government has given planning permission to build the country’s first Holocaust memorial and learning center, which will be located in London near the Parliament, in Victoria Tower Gardens.

“The new Holocaust Memorial will be the national focal point to honour the 6 million Jewish men, women and children who were murdered in the Holocaust, and other victims of Nazi persecution, including the Roma, gay and disabled people,” the government says in a statement by the Ministry of Housing, UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation and MP Hon Robert Jenrick.

“The co-located Learning Centre will also focus on subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur,” it adds.

“The world-class facility will give visitors powerful and engaging experiences to learn about the Holocaust and subsequent genocides through a variety of mediums including historic photographs, film footage and audio recordings so that the stories of survivors can be heard by younger generations, present and future,” the statement says.

Work will start later this year, and completion is expected in 2025. The government will dedicate 75 million pounds ($104.7 million) with 25 million more pounds ($34.9 million) coming from charitable sources.

UK Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis says in response: “This is a significant moment on our journey towards a major national Holocaust memorial. Now the sacred work to enshrine our country’s commitment to teaching the essential lessons of the Holocaust in a monument and learning centre beside parliament, can truly begin.”

“The Holocaust is part of British history,” says Holocaust survivor Sir Ben Helfgott.

“I am proud that the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre is being built, in the heart of our country, so it can be visited by millions. I know that long after I, and the other survivors, are gone, the UK will continue to remember the Holocaust and learn what happened when hatred reigned,” he adds.

Jonathan Goldstein, chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council, says the announcement is “welcome” and adds the center “will help ensure the legacy and memory of the Holocaust is preserved. It will serve as a reminder of where unchecked hatred can lead.”

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