The Prime Minister has warned Britain must ensure the “memory and the lessons of the Holocaust are never forgotten” as survivors meet today to discuss plans for a lasting memorial to mark the atrocity.
David Cameron said he was “awestruck” by the dedication of those who survived the death camps, who have shared their memories of the horrors they suffered to ensure that future generations do not forget them.
He made the comments ahead of a meeting of hundreds of survivors of Nazi persecution held in London today as part of the Holocaust Commission set up by the Government.
The meeting, hosted by television presenter Natasha Kaplinsky and believed to be one of the largest gatherings of survivors ever held in Britain, will hear ideas about how the Holocaust should be remembered.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, David Cameron said: “I am awestruck by the work that so many survivors do teaching our young people about the Holocaust. We must ensure that the memory and the lessons of the Holocaust are never forgotten.
“Today’s event is important because it gives the Commission the chance to hear from survivors first-hand about how to best commemorate the Holocaust and to educate future generations of every faith and none.
“With their help we can ensure that the memory and the lessons of the Holocaust live on for generations to come.”
The commission has been set up to investigate what more needs to be done to ensure Britain has a fitting memorial to the Holocaust and the right educational resources to educate future generations about the genocide, in which an estimated six million Jews were slaughtered.
Actress Helena Bonham Carter, whose grandfather Spanish diplomat Eduardo Propper de Callejon helped thousands of Jews flee from occupied France during the war, is sitting on the project.
Labour shadow chancellor Ed Balls, Liberal Democrat justice minister Simon Hughes and the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis are also on the cross-party commission.
It is due to report its findings to David Cameron at the end of the year – in time for the 70th anniversary of the British liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp next April.
Concentration camp survivors will join those who fled to Britain on the kindertransport rescue mission, and those who were hidden from the Nazis as children, to give their views on how the Holocaust should be remembered in museums, monuments and education programmes
Karen Pollock MBE, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “The Holocaust Educational Trust is proud to be part of this unique gathering of survivors and refugees – it is crucial that their voices are heard.
“The fact that so many of our young ambassadors have given up their time to be here today is a testament to the powerful relevance that the Holocaust continues to have.”