Government allocates £1.7M for educational school trips to Bergen-Belsen
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Government allocates £1.7M for educational school trips to Bergen-Belsen

Treasury's budget makes fund available ahead of the 75th anniversary of the camp's liberation by the British Army

'Historical defensive guilt' is among the causes of anti-Semitism in Germany, say community leaders
'Historical defensive guilt' is among the causes of anti-Semitism in Germany, say community leaders

The Treasury has allocated £1.7 million to fund school trips to Bergen-Belsen until April – just a week after the Home Office said it would give charities like the Anne Frank Trust £1.5 million to tackle hate crime.

In an announcement made on Thursday, the Treasury said it had made the one-off fund available ahead of the 75th anniversary of Bergen-Belsen’s liberation by the British Army in 2020.

The money will be given to the Department for Education, and organisations specialising in Holocaust education will be able to apply for funds to support projects in schools and visits to the Bergen-Belsen camp in Germany, to be spent by April.

“Visits would be part of pupils’ education on the horrors that took place during the Holocaust,” a Treasury spokesman said. “Projects and visits will be delivered by the charities themselves.”

Sir Eric Pickles, the Government’s special envoy on post-Holocaust issues, said: “This is very welcome news. The liberation of Bergen-Belsen was an important moment of realisation of the full horror of the Holocaust.”

Richard Dimbleby’s 1945 news report from the camp “still has the power to shock and appal,” Pickles said, adding: “Schools will now get an opportunity to learn of how the latest technology is helping us to understand how the camp functioned and it’s important place in the history of the darkest period of the 20th century.”

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The camp was used to imprison Jews in forced labour during the Second World War and was where Anne Frank was killed. More than 40,000 prisoners were being kept there at the time the camp was liberated.

It’s understood the programme of visits will be delivered by the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET), who warmly welcomed the news at a time of “unprecedented levels of antisemitism across the UK”.

HET chief executive Karen Pollock said the students benefitting from the funding “will use their knowledge and experiences, alongside fresh resources, and further opportunities to learn about the Holocaust, to challenge increasing cases of Holocaust denial, distortion and hate”.

She added: “The experience of the British soldiers who liberated Bergen-Belsen must never be forgotten, and our work will help to ensure that the relevance of the Holocaust here in Britain is upheld by each generation.”

It follows an announcement by Home Secretary Sajid Javid last week that there would be £1.5 million made available to organisations such as Streetwise and the Anne Frank Trust as part of the Government’s national hate crime action plan.

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