Sir Eric Pickles and former chancellor Ed Balls have been made new co-chairs of the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation’s advisory board.
The two former MPs were appointed by the Prime Minister this week, replacing Sir Peter Bazalgette, who has chaired since 2015.
The UKHMF board is supporting the new Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre proposed for Victoria Tower Gardens next to the Houses of Parliament. Under their tenure, they’ll look to work with the government to complete the designing and building of the new monument.
“It is an honour to follow Sir Peter” said Sir Eric Pickles, who is the Government’s special envoy for post Holocaust issues. “I am very much looking forward to working alongside Ed. Together we will work to produce a memorial and a learning space that will enhance and complement existing work by government and organisations supporting Holocaust remembrance”
Ed Balls spoke of the “responsibility across society to ensure that the lessons of the Holocaust are never forgotten”, adding that “over the last four years, as a member of the Holocaust Commission and then the Foundation, I have been inspired by the survivors I have met and deeply moved by their testimonies. I’m therefore honoured to be appointed co-Chair of the Foundation with Sir Eric.
“It is our task to ensure that Britain’s national memorial and learning centre serves both as a permanent record of the past and a clear warning for the future.”
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid MP welcomed the new appointment, saying both Sir Eric Pickles and Ed Balls “will both bring their valuable insight to building the vision for this vital project”.
He said the new Holocaust memorial and learning centre “will not only honour and remember all victims and survivors of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides, but educate future generations on the importance of fighting prejudice and persecution in all its forms.”
Karen Pollock , Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, responded to the “fantastic news”, by saying their “passion, drive and energy for Holocaust education and remembrance make them well placed to lead on this important mission.”
“With their combined experience and knowledge at this crucial juncture – as the Holocaust moves from living history to ‘just’ history , and antisemitism continues to blight our society, this project is in safe hands.”
Other members of the UKHMD advisory board include Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, journalist Natasha Kaplinsky, founder and chairman of the CST Gerald Ronson and Scottish politician Alex Salmond.
In October last year, Adjaye Associates, Ron Arad Architects and the landscape architects Gustafson Porter + Bowman were announced as the winning team to design the Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre