The head of Yom HaShoah UK says the Jewish community still has “a long way to go” to engage future generations in Holocaust remembrance, as some 700 people attended the Hyde Park service on Sunday.
Neil Martin was speaking after the central London event, which featured speakers including the Chief Rabbi, the Israeli ambassador, senior communal figures and Mick Davis, head of Downing Street’s Holocaust Commission.
“The message from everyone was that we’ve reached a tipping point,” said Martin. “We’re moving from a period of living history to one of memory, and we need to carry that remembrance flame forward through to the next generation.”
Writing in last week’s Jewish News, Martin argued that commemoration had now grown “stale” in the UK.
“People just think it is being taken care of, that it’s covered,” he wrote. “There are some great events taking place all over the UK, serving those who attend, but what about those you don’t take part? What are we doing to get them involved?”
The use of innovative techniques and technologies could improve things, he said, adding that he’d noticed more young people at this year’s events. But Martin acknowledged that “there is still a lot more that needs to be done”.
Speaking about the option of a wide-ranging review into the way the British Jewish community engages in year-round education, he said: “Yom HaShoah should be the pinnacle, a day that we build up to.
“It’s great that Mick Davis is leading on the government’s Holocaust Commission, but perhaps we need our own.”