It’s difficult to overstate Lord Janner’s wide-ranging contribution to our community and his country. He was the youngest war crimes investigator, a pioneer in Holocaust education, a former president of the Board of Deputies and a leading barrister who served inside and outside Parliament with distinction over many decades. But it’s clear that the allegations that engulfed him over the past year will mean it is not with these achievements that many will most associate him.
But that national coverage over recent days have focused on the allegations is neither surprising or unreasonable. It is the latest tragedy of a wholly tragic episode that his alleged victims – some of whom gave testimony years ago – look likely to be denied the day in court they have long sought and equally that the peer and his family who strenuously deny the allegations will not have the opportunity to clear his name. And so the indelible stain on his name and reputation will remain.
Many of those who worked for and knew him best still find it hard to believe Lord Janner committed these crimes but an element of doubt was raised even for some of them amid mounting information surrounding the case. This is an issue with which our community has long grappled. The removal of his name from roles at several organisations including the Holocaust Educational Trust he helped establish was a reflection of the severity of the claims.
The muted nature of the tributes – the lack of hyperbole describing Lord Janner as the towering figure his work warranted – speaks volumes. There’s no doubt that the numbers who attending the funeral on Monday is a fraction of those who would have turned up just two years ago. Even writing this leader has felt like walking a tight-rope.
The family will now have a difficult time.