Head of the United Kingdom Delegation to the IHRA
Member country since: 1998
Remembrance Days: 27 January (International Holocaust Remembrance Day)
Sally Sealey (Department of Levelling up, Housing and Communities) – Deputy Head of Delegation
Gilly Carr (University of Cambridge) – Academic Working Group
Paula Cowan (University of the West of Scotland - Faculty of Education, Health and Social Sciences, School of Education) – Academic Working Group
Ben Helfgott (’45 Aid Society of Holocaust Survivors) – Museums and Memorials Working Group
Ruth-Anne Lenga (Institute of Education, University of London) – Education Working Group
Olivia Marks-Woldman (Holocaust Memorial Day Trust) – Museums and Memorials Working Group
Alex Maws (Association of Jewish Refugees) – Education Working Group
Kirstie Nash (Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office)
Michael Newman (Association of Jewish Refugees) – Museums and Memorials Working Group
Karen Pollock (Holocaust Educational Trust) – Education Working Group
Christine Schmidt (The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide) – Academic Working Group
Martin Winstone (Holocaust Educational Trust) – Education Working Group
IHRA membership has given the United Kingdom an international forum on which to progress critical post-Holocaust issues, while NGOs and academics have continued to deliver ground-breaking Holocaust educational resources, academic research and commemorative projects to newer audiences. The appointment of the UK Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues, national commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day across the UK, including government events, large-scale national research into teachers’ and pupils’ thinking about the Holocaust, and the taking of a digital copy of the ITS archive all demonstrate the UK’s firm commitment to advancing knowledge and awareness of the Holocaust.
A major focus for the UK is ensuring Britain has a permanent memorial to the Holocaust and educational resources for future generations and we are planning a major Holocaust memorial and learning centre next to Parliament. We are also proud to be the first country to have adopted IHRA’s working definition of antisemitism, announced by our Prime Minister in December 2016, and adopted subsequently by various councils and universities across the UK. We see this as an important step to tackle intolerance and show the UK’s commitment to taking a leading role in tackling hate crime.
Download the 2019 United Kingdom country report (the content of the report is the responsibility of the reporting country).
Key facts about Holocaust education, remembrance, and research in the United Kingdom
All IHRA Member Countries are asked to complete a basic questionnaire with key facts about the state of Holocaust education, remembrance, and research in their country. The answers to the questionnaire are provided by the national delegations, who are also responsible for keeping the information up to date.
1. What are the most important policy statements on the Holocaust, the genocide of the Roma, and genocide made by your government over the last seven years? Please include the name of the statement, the body who issued the statement, the date the statement was made, and a link.
The UK Prime Minister and leaders of political parties in the UK issue statements every year on 27 January Holocaust Memorial Day
Every year there is Holocaust Memorial Day debate in Parliament on or around 27 of January.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on addressing Antisemitism
In addition, one of the most significant policy statements in this period has been the adoption of Britain’s Promise to Remember, the report of the Prime Minister’s Holocaust Commission, published in January 2015, which recommended the creation of a national memorial to the Holocaust with an accompanying learning centre. Welcoming the report, the then Prime Minister, the Rt Hon. David Cameron, said:
'It is time for Britain as a nation to stand together and say, “we will remember.” To say: “we will not allow any excuses for antisemitism in our country.” We will not let any form of prejudice destroy the multi-faith, multi-ethnic democracy we are so proud to call our home. We will teach every generation the British values of respect and tolerance that we hold dear. And we will ensure that they can learn from the stories of our Holocaust survivors long after we are all gone.
'Today we stand together – whatever our faith, whatever our creed, whatever our politics. We stand in remembrance of those who were murdered in the darkest hour of human history. We stand in admiration of what our Holocaust survivors have given to our country. And we stand united in our resolve to fight prejudice and discrimination in all its forms. We will keep Britain’s Promise to Remember. Today, tomorrow and for every generation to come.'
In 2021 – an urgent question on antisemitic attacks – House of Lords
On 20 February 2019, MPs held a general debate on antisemitism in modern society in the House of Commons. Members from across the House shared personal stories of encountering antisemitism and called on their colleagues to continue to end systematic discrimination.
The late Rt Hon. James Brokenshire MP, then Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government opened the debate. He said: “This is a mission bigger than politics—bigger than any party—and it is in that spirit that I urge all hon. Members to be standard-bearers for these values: values that are our best hope of ensuring that when we say, 'Never again' we mean it.”
At a conference on the Kindertransport in April 2019, jointly hosted by the Association of Jewish Refuges and the UK Government, the late Rt Hon. James Brokenshire MP, then Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. Brokenshire said: “the Kindertransport is a story of great pride for this country, but it is also marked with deep sadness. We know that the Kinder were often the only surviving members of their family. It is a painful legacy – but one we must remember.”
Statements of support for Holocaust commemoration and combatting antisemitism have also been made by leaders of devolved administrations. The highest profile was a speech delivered by the Scottish First Minister MSP Nicola Sturgeon at Auschwitz-Birkenau when accompanying students and teachers from across Scotland on a Holocaust Educational Trust Lessons from Auschwitz visit in November 2018. The First Minister said: “What happened here was one of the darkest periods in human history and it's really important that we remember all those who suffered and were murdered, but it is equally important that we don't just see this as a history lesson. Although it was perpetrated by the Nazis, it was facilitated by hundreds of thousands of people who went along with it or turned a blind eye to it. Today as antisemitism, as intolerance and prejudice more generally start to rear its head again in the world that we live in, I think it's more important that we learn the lesson of this for our own lives and our own time and for all of us to resolve never to be bystanders in the face of hate.”
Guernsey introduced the ‘Holocaust Requête’ in their parliament in 2016, which was passed as a resolution which resolved to recognise the Holocaust with a ceremony on Holocaust Memorial Day and to work with the Holocaust Educational Trust to provide Holocaust education (this was organised in September 2018 with teacher training sessions in Guernsey and Jersey which were filmed and are now online and backed up with teaching materials at www.frankfallaarchive.org/educational-materials/). Jersey also hosts an annual Holocaust Memorial Day.
Debate on the Yazidi Genocide
Genocide: Bringing Perpetrators to Justice
Debate on Uighurs
2. Please list, with links, a short description (200 words) of any action plans, statistics, etc. related to countering Holocaust denial and distortion, antisemitism, and antigypsyism/anti-Roma discrimination.
The number of antisemitic incidents in the UK remains a cause for concern. The Community Security Trust (CST), the leading Jewish communal organisation monitoring and tackling antisemitism, recorded 2,255 incidents in 2021, the highest total ever reported in a single calendar year.
In the year ending March 2021 there were 124,091 hate crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales; of which there were 92,052 race hate crimes, 6,377 religious hate crimes, 18,596 sexual orientation hate crimes, 9,943 disability hate crimes and 2,799 transgender hate crimes. Jewish people were targeted in 22 per cent of religious hate crimes (1,288 offences). These proportions were similar to the previous year.
While some of this increase will reflect increased confidence in reporting, we are well aware that these figures reflect an overall increase in the number of incidents. The UK is currently working on a revised Hate Crime Action Plan which includes addressing antisemitism.
The Cross-Government Working Group to Tackle Antisemitism, which brings together civil servants from across government and Jewish communal representatives, ensures that we are alive to concerns of the Jewish community and can respond quickly. Its way of working has been cited as best practice across Europe and the Americas.
A key role is also played by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) against Antisemitism, which has more than 200 members amongst MPs and peers and receives administrative support from the Antisemitism Policy Trust. Lord John Mann, the former chair of the APPG against Antisemitism, is the independent antisemitism advisor to the UK Government.
In 2016, the UK became one of the first countries to formally adopt the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism. The definition, although legally non-binding, is an important tool for criminal justice agencies, and other public bodies to understand how antisemitism manifests itself in the twenty-first century. It has now been adopted by many public bodies in the UK.
Government policy on countering distortion is primarily focused on support and funding for education and remembrance of the Holocaust. The UK National Holocaust Memorial will play a significant role, confronting the responses of the British state and society to the Holocaust honestly. The Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities have begun an initiative to compile and improve online access to video testimonies from survivors and refugees from Nazi oppression who settled in the UK. This central repository will feature the AJR’s Refugee Voices archive, testimonies collected by the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation and those from several other museums and institutions. It is hoped that this will play an important role in preserving the historical facts of the Holocaust and in doing so countering denial and distortion.
Anti-gypsism is not recorded separately but would fall under the category of race hate crime. We are aware that Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities under-report hate crime, which is why we have worked with the police to create a separate reporting page for Gypsies, Roma and Travellers on their hate crime reporting portal, True Vision. The UK funds projects that encourage the reporting of hate crime for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, such as #OperationReportHate run by the Traveller Movement.
3. How numerous and widespread are annual Holocaust remembrance events and remembrance events dedicated to the genocide of the Roma?
Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) on 27 January is the main focus for remembrance. Each year’s HMD is based around a theme chosen by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT). It is a challenge to identify a fresh theme each year which is rich enough to enable all organisations to use it to learn more about the past, but themes over the past few years have proved extremely popular, strong and engaging (e.g. Stand Together in 2020, Be the Light in the Darkness 2021, and One Day 2022. The UK’s own history and role in the Holocaust will usually form one part of the events organised in response to the theme (for example, the Kindertransport figured prominently in the Torn from home theme), but it is not necessarily the main focus.
During the pandemic, most commemorations moved online, with Holocaust Memorial Day Trust ensuring that digital events and commemorations could still be interactive and meaningful. In 2022, the UK Ceremony was a filmed event, reaching millions of people through the broadcast itself and through clips being played out on mainstream channels e.g., BBC. More than 4,000 local activities were held – online and in person – organised by more than 3,000 schools and community organisations. These included libraries, museums, health trusts, government departments, prisons, churches, and other places of worship.
A national moment to ‘Light the Darkness’ was established during the first wave of the pandemic and is now an annual event. At 8 pm on the 27 January, thousands of households placed candles in their windows, to honour the memory of those murdered in the Holocaust and in recent genocides, and to stand with people today who face prejudice because of their faith or ethnicity. In support of this initiative, more than 200 landmark buildings around the UK lit up in purple, including the London Eye, Blackpool Tower, Edinburgh Castle, the Titanic Building in Belfast, and Cardiff Castle. In central London, the vast Piccadilly Circus screens lit up with images of Holocaust survivors.
The highest-profile events are national ceremonies: a UK-wide event in London as well as ceremonies for each of the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on or close to 27 January. These are well-attended by political leaders and civil society.
However, local activities take place in every part of the UK, from the islands of Scotland to rural south-west England. Each HMD activity engages people of all ages – adults as well as young people – in learning more about the past in order to create a better future. HMD activities enable people to learn more, increase empathy for others, and do more to improve society. HMD is embedded in British society, with HRH The Prince of Wales as Patron of the HMDT and senior political and faith leaders attending the UK national ceremony each year. In the UK, the Holocaust has primacy within HMD, which also commemorates all victims of Nazi persecution and marks subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.
In addition, every UK government department in England hosts a Holocaust Memorial Day event for its staff. In the Channel Islands, Jersey and Guernsey host HMD events which include indoor and outdoor ceremonies, with poems, music, speeches and wreath laying.
Yom HaShoah UK holds an annual ceremony at the Holocaust memorial in Hyde Park, London, to mark the Jewish community’s day of Shoah remembrance and coordinates outreach to schools, synagogues and communal organisations.
There is an annual commemoration of the Roma genocide in Hyde Park on 2 August. Many events that commemorate HMD on the 27 January include the commemoration of the Roma genocide.
There have also been a number of specific remembrance events over the last five years, including:
• An annual service of remembrance to mark the anniversary of the November pogrom.
4. Are there any specific academic programs or permanent professorships dedicated to the Holocaust and the genocide of the Roma? Y/N If yes, please provide details.
Yes. Although there are no named professorships specifically in Holocaust studies, there are important research centres with professorial staff. Dedicated centres are the Holocaust Research Institute (Royal Holloway, University of London) and the Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (University of Leicester). In addition, the Holocaust is a very significant component of the research and teaching outputs of the Parkes Institute (University of Southampton), the Centre for German-Jewish Studies (University of Sussex) and the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism (Birkbeck, University of London).
MA courses are offered by Royal Holloway, University of London (Holocaust Studies), the University of Birmingham (Holocaust and Genocide) and Nottingham Trent University (Holocaust and Genocide).
The University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education has a series of three online courses which addresses Britain and the Holocaust. This programme has a focus on the ‘refugee crisis’ of the 1930s, the Holocaust and the Channel Islands, and post-1945 public remembrance and understanding of the Holocaust.
. The University of the West of Scotland delivers an online Masters module in Citizenship and Holocaust Education.
In addition, the British Association for Holocaust Studies (BAHS) annually brings together academics, teachers and other educators in an effort to further the knowledge and teaching of the Holocaust in the United Kingdom.
5. Has any noteworthy research been published on the Holocaust and the genocide of the Roma in the last seven years? Y/N. If yes, please provide details.
A very large body of research on the Holocaust has been published. Perhaps the highest profile work has been David Cesarani’s posthumously published Final Solution: The Fate of the Jews 1933–1949 (London: Pan Macmillan, 2016). Other especially notable works include Rebecca Clifford, Survivors: Children’s Lives After the Holocaust (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2020), Tim Cole, Holocaust Landscapes (London: Bloomsbury, 2016), Mary Fulbrook, Reckonings: Legacies of Nazi Persecution and the Quest for Justice (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), Dan Stone, The Liberation of the Camps: The End of the Holocaust and its Aftermath (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015), and Nikolaus Wachsmann, KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps (London: Little Brown, 2015). A growing body of research has addressed Britain’s relationship with the Holocaust. Notable examples published in this period include Gilly Carr, Nazi Persecution in the Channel Islands: A legitimate heritage? (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2019), Jennifer Craig-Norton, The Kindertransport: Contesting Memory (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2019) and Caroline Study Colls, Adolf Island: The Nazi Occupation of Alderney (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2022).
By contrast, less has been published on the genocide of the Roma and Sinti, although a very notable work is The Legacies of the Romani Genocide in Europe since 1945 (Milton Park: Routledge, 2021), edited by the UK-based academics Celia Donert and Eve Rosenhaft.
6. Have any surveys been conducted to assess the post-war public understanding of the Holocaust and the genocide of the Roma? Y/N. Please provide links.
Yes to both, if by surveys we mean research. A number of academics have in recent years researched the development of public understanding of the Holocaust in the UK. Holocaust Consciousness in Contemporary Britain (New Yok/Abingdon: Routledge, 2014) by Dr Andy Pearce, currently of the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education, has traced the evolution of public, especially official, understanding and representation of the Holocaust, whilst a number of academics, such as Professor Tim Cole of the University of Bristol and Dr James Jordan of the University of Southampton, have looked at the Holocaust in popular culture. There is a general consensus that, whilst the Holocaust was present in British consciousness in the post-war decades, significant public engagement with its history came somewhat later than in some other Western democracies: events such as the Eichmann trial or the broadcast of the Holocaust miniseries had less impact in the UK than in the USA or West Germany, for example. A series of developments in the 1990s changed this: the introduction of a National Curriculum in England and Wales, which meant that the Holocaust began to be taught far more widely in schools; the impact of Schindler’s List on public awareness; the creation of a specific exhibition on the Holocaust in the Imperial War Museum; the UK’s role as a founder member of the then ITF; the decision to create Holocaust Memorial Day. Each of these events both reflected and in turn magnified growing public engagement with the history of the Holocaust. The very public incidents of genocide in Europe and Africa in the mid-1990s also contributed to a deeper desire to understand the Holocaust. The result has been that the Holocaust has moved from being a relatively marginal element of British narratives of the Second World War to becoming central in popular consciousness.
There has been less research in terms of attempting to quantify how well the general public understands the historical detail of the Holocaust, although there is now a significant body of research on the understandings of school students, as detailed in the answer to question 8. In terms of basic understandings, research by the Jewish Policy Research Institute in 2017, conducted as part of the most detailed ever study of attitudes towards Jews in the UK found that only 2% of those surveyed maintained that the Holocaust is a myth and 4% that it has been exaggerated. In November 2021, the Claims Conference published the results of its United Kingdom Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Survey, which revealed a mixed picture of knowledge and understanding of the Holocaust (see https://www.claimscon.org/uk-study/).
7. What are the most used textbooks and teaching materials on the Holocaust and the genocide of the Roma, and when were they published and/or updated?
Each nation of the United Kingdom has its own curriculum, leading to significant variations in the place of the Holocaust within them, and in each nation the Holocaust may be taught in a variety of subjects and at different ages. There is therefore a diverse range of resources available.
There are no state-prescribed textbooks – schools choose from a wide range of textbooks provided by several different educational publishers; most of these books are tailored to specific national curricula or examination requirements. As a result, there are no titles which can be clearly identified as the most used. Most textbooks, especially in England, have been published in the last ten years in response to significant changes in the National Curriculum and examination syllabi, which represents the general pattern – textbooks are typically updated when curricula change rather than in response to developments in historical research.
The principal textbook specifically focussed on the Holocaust is Stuart Foster et al, Understanding the Holocaust: How and why did it happen? (London: Hodder Education, 2020), produced by staff of the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education and informed by the results of the Centre’s research on student and teacher knowledge and understanding of the Holocaust.
Beyond textbooks, there are a wide range of teaching materials offered by specialist Holocaust education providers. The Holocaust Educational Trust (HET) offers resources for schools across the UK for ages 10 to 18; in particular, its Exploring the Holocaust resource is a comprehensive cross-curricular package of lessons and teaching materials for the 13-14 age group. All of these resources are downloadable free of charge from the Trust’s website. The UCL Centre for Holocaust Education provides an extensive selection of lesson plans and accompanying materials for teachers in England; some are freely available to all users of its website; most are accessible to teachers who have taken part in its teacher training programmes, who number several thousand in the last five years. The Wiener Holocaust Library hosts the website https://www.theholocaustexplained.org/ which is one of the most visited websites on Holocaust education in the world, designed with the English school curriculum in mind.
In addition, leading organisations in the field of teaching and learning about the Holocaust have increasingly come to recognise that teacher knowledge and expertise is equally as important as the choice of textbooks and other educational resources, especially in light of the diversity of curricular provision between and within nations. The UK has an extensive infrastructure of high-quality specialist teacher training in Holocaust Education with the Holocaust Educational Trust and the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education the largest providers. In Scotland, the University of the West of Scotland launched its Vision Schools programme in 2015. Delivered with support from the HET, Vision Schools promotes and rewards outstanding Holocaust education, providing research-based training to teachers who then share their good practice with colleagues in other schools.
8. Have any surveys or other educational research been conducted to assess the effectiveness of teaching and learning about the Holocaust and/or the genocide of the Roma? Y/N. If yes, please provide details.
In 2015 the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education (CfHE) published What do students know and understand about the Holocaust?, the largest ever study of its kind. Building on the centre’s previous research of teachers’ aims and understandings (2009), the mixed methods study surveyed 8,000 secondary school students in England and additionally conducted face-to-face interviews with around 250. The research suggested that teaching and learning about the Holocaust in England was not always successful in overcoming common myths and misconceptions shaped by popular and political culture and sometimes shared by teachers themselves. Examples included a limited conception of responsibility for the Holocaust (largely restricted to the Nazis or even Hitler), confusion over the specific experiences of different groups of victims of Nazi persecution and an overly Auschwitz-centric perspective. At the same time, the study also showed high levels of engagement amongst students with the subject and improvements in knowledge and understanding as they got older.
In 2021, the UCL CfHE began publishing the results of its Continuity and Change research study, conducted in 2019-20, which followed up its 2009 study of teachers’ aims and understandings. The new research found improved subject knowledge among those teaching about the Holocaust in English secondary schools compared to ten years earlier. However, the same data also raised concerns, notwithstanding these improvements: many teachers still appear to share a number of widespread misunderstandings, enduring misconceptions and common historical inaccuracies all of which have potentially profound consequence for the teaching and learning of this important history. More encouragingly, the research also provides compelling evidence of a strong relationship between continuing professional development (CPD) for teachers and secure subject knowledge.
The UCL CfHE’s research has informed the content of its own teacher training programmes as well as those of other organisations in the field, by identifying the most common misconceptions amongst students and teachers which need to be tackled. The provision of high-quality teacher training is widely seen as the key to improving teaching and learning about the Holocaust in the UK.
In addition, a significant number of postgraduate theses have been or are being written, by students at the UCL CfHE and other institutions, focussing on specific aspects of the impact of teaching and learning about the Holocaust.
Vision Schools Scotland have conducted an evaluation of their specialist teacher training programmes in Holocaust education. Cowan and Maitles have published research on the impact of Holocaust education in Scotland (Eckmann, Stevick and Ambrosewicz-Jacobs 2017:164) and their book Understanding and Teaching Holocaust Education was awarded Best Praxis Publication 2017 by the Children's Identity and Citizenship in Europe.
9. What public or private museums, memorials, archives, and/or sites in your country are dedicated to the Holocaust and/or the genocide of the Roma? Please provide details, including the role of central, regional, or local public bodies. Are these institutions listed in the IHRA Overview of Holocaust-related Organizations, in the EHRI Portal, or other databases?
There are a number of museums and memorials dedicated to the Holocaust in the UK. The most prominent is currently the Holocaust Gallery at the Imperial War Museum which reopened with a new exhibition in 2021 The National Holocaust Centre and Museum in Nottinghamshire focuses on the Holocaust and has an exhibition entitled ‘The Journey’ which caters for primary school pupils. The University of Huddersfield in 2018 opened the Holocaust Heritage and Learning Centre. In addition, we have smaller exhibitions at the Jewish Museum London as well as the Manchester Jewish Museum. The Lake District Holocaust Project in Windermere tells the story of 300 child survivors who were first housed in the region when they were brought to the UK in 1945. The Scottish Holocaust-era Study Centre opened in 2021 within the pre-existing Scottish Jewish Archives Centre and Scottish Jewish Heritage Centre in Glasgow. A heritage centre is dedicated to Righteous Jane Haining in the church in home village of Dunscore in Scotland.
The Wiener Holocaust Library is the world's oldest institution devoted to the study of the Holocaust, its causes and legacies; it has hosted a range of events and exhibitions over the last five years including on antisemitism, the Kitchener Camp, eugenics, Fascism in Britain, Jewish resistance, the genocide of the Roma and Sinti, the death marches, the Kindertransport and other Jewish refugee experiences in Britain, and the German occupation of the Channel Islands.
The Imperial War Museum is a non-departmental public body (NDPB) sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The others are private or charitable institutions, although several receive government grants for specific projects or activities.
All of these institutions apart from the Huddersfield Holocaust Heritage and Learning Centre, Lake District Holocaust Project and the Jane Haining exhibition in Dunscore are listed in the IHRA Overview of Holocaust-related Organizations. The Imperial War Museum and the Wiener Holocaust Library are also listed in the EHRI Portal.
In terms of memorials, there are a number of small plaques and memorials around the UK, especially in London. They include a statue to Raoul Wallenberg near Marble Arch, plaques and memorials to British officials who issued visas to escaping Jews, including one at the Foreign Office, and several in synagogue gardens. The iconic Kindertransport statue by Kind Frank Meisler is at Liverpool Street station in London (the point of arrival for most Kinder) and there is a plaque dedicated to the Kinder in the House of Commons. There are memorial statues to the Righteous spy Frank Foley in his birthplace of Highbridge (Somerset) and his final hometown Stourbridge (West Midlands).
The Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) has an established a scheme to install plaques in honour of prominent Jewish refugees who fled Nazi oppression and places of significance to the refugee story. The most recent plaque was unveiled in March 2022 in memory of Internment on the Isle of Man. A plaque in honour of Otto Schiff, who directed the Jewish Refugee Committee, which made the logistical arrangements to help bring out refugees from Central Europe and settle them in Britain, was unveiled in December 2018; Schiff is also a recipient of the British Government’s Hero of the Holocaust medal.
In December 2021, The AJR and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities launched the UK Holocaust Map showcasing these and hundreds of other sites of Holocaust memory in Britain (https://www.ukholocaustmap.org.uk/).
In Scotland, there is a permanent exhibition of artworks created by survivor Marianne Grant in Bergen-Belsen at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, and a memorial stone in central Edinburgh.
In Wales, a memorial plaque exists in Llanwrtyd Wells, a small town which was the location of a wartime school for child refugees, many of them Jewish, from Czechoslovakia.
In Northern Ireland, there is a memorial and stained-glass window in the Belfast Synagogue.
In addition to physical memorials, the UK Government recognises British citizens who helped rescue Jews and others from the Holocaust and Nazi persecution. The award is open to any British citizen who saved Jews or others from persecuted groups from the Holocaust. The award itself is a solid silver medallion and bears the inscription "in the service of humanity" on the front, and on the reverse “In recognition of [honouree’s name] whose selfless actions preserved life in the face of persecution”.
To date the award has been given to 44 recipients. The most recent recipients were Jonas May, Phineas May and Ernest Joseph OBE. All three were honoured at a ceremony at the Wigmore Hall on 28 April 2022 which also marked Yom HaShoah for their work in the Kitchener Camp. The Kitchener Camp rescue scheme was set up after the state sponsored violence against the Jews of Greater Germany in November 1938.which led to 30,000 being taken to concentration camps. In Britain the Jewish community persuaded the Government to relax visa entry restrictions, paving the way, first for the Kindertransport, and soon after, the Kitchener Camp rescue schemes.
In the Channel Islands, Guernsey has a small memorial to the three Jewish women who were deported from the island in 1942 and then sent to their deaths in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Jersey has a memorial in its synagogue and in the Jewish graveyard to the persecuted Jews of the island. Alderney and Jersey have memorials to forced labourers and recognise, with a small plaque attached to the memorial, the Jewish labourers. There is no Holocaust museum in the Channel Islands; however, there is information on the Holocaust at the privately-owned German Occupation Museum in Guernsey and in the state-run Occupation Tapestry Gallery in Jersey. From March to May 2019, state-run Guernsey Museum held an exhibition called ‘On British Soil: Victims of Nazism in the Channel Islands’, which discussed the Jews and the Holocaust.
In addition to the many museums and memorials mentioned above, the most significant project is the ongoing development of the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre in central London, a project overseen by the Department for Levelling-Up, Housing & Communities. Once opened, it will be the focal point for national remembrance of the Holocaust, honouring the six million Jewish men, women and children who were murdered in the Holocaust, and also remembering the other victims of Nazi persecution and victims of subsequent genocides. The memorial’s exhibition will confront the immense human calamity caused by the destruction of Europe’s Jewish communities during the Holocaust, arousing a sincere commitment to mourn, remember and act. The exhibition will especially focus on Britain’s relationship with the Holocaust. Its narrative will be balanced, addressing the complexities of Britain’s ambiguous responses to the Holocaust and subsequent genocides, avoiding simplistic judgements and encouraging visitors to critically reflect on whether more could have been done, both by policymakers and by society.
10. What steps has your country taken towards implementing the International Memorial Museums Charter?
There are a number of organisations that work in the field of Holocaust remembrance, education and research. The major organisations which have received Government support in the last five years are:
• Anne Frank Trust: counter-extremism educational programmes;
• Association Jewish Refugees (AJR): Remembering and Rethinking: The International Forum on the Kindertransport at 80 conference, 2019
• Association Jewish Refugees (AJR)- Mapping the Holocaust in the UK
• Connect and Reflect - Personal Stories from Bergen Belsen
• Holocaust Educational Trust: Lessons from Auschwitz Project, Lessons from Auschwitz Universities Project, Belsen 75 Project;
• Holocaust Memorial Day Trust: Holocaust Memorial Day;
• The Holocaust Centre in Huddersfield’s (HSFA) - Memorial Gestures in the North of England
• Harwich Kindertransport Memorial & Learning Appeal
• Learning from the Righteous (LftR) - The Kitchener transport
• National Holocaust Centre and Museum: digitising ‘The Journey’ exhibition;
• National Holocaust Centre – Newark –exhibition on anti-Jewish prejudice and how hatred of Jews in England originated over 900 years ago
• Safeguarding Holocaust Sites on British Soil website - Alderney
• The Bosnian Genocide Educational Trust -Bosnian Genocide
• The 100 Stories project -Rwandan Genocide against the Tutsi
• UCL Centre for Holocaust Education: teacher training programmes, Belsen 75 Project
• Vision Schools Scotland
• Wales – Romani Arts – Genocide of the Roma
• Wiener Library: project support for the Arolsen Archives, formerly ITS, and Testifying to the Truth early testimonies digitisation project;
In addition, it is worth noting that the AJR is also now the largest benefactor of Holocaust education and commemoration projects and programmes in the UK. In this role they have sponsored a number of the leading Holocaust institutions in the field, including the Wiener Library, the National Holocaust Centre and the new Holocaust Heritage Learning Centre at the University of Huddersfield. Additionally, they support several Holocaust Memorial Day awareness initiatives, and are a major benefactor to the development of the Manchester Jewish Museum and the Scottish Jewish Archives.
12. What are the most important policy statements on genocide or mass atrocity crimes over the last seven years? Please include the name of the statement, the body who issued the statement, the date the statement was made, and a link.
The Government believes that recognition of genocides should be a matter for international courts, not political bodies. It should be a legal, rather than political determination, decided by international judges after consideration of all the evidence available in the context of a credible international judicial process.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Prevention of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity is a cross-party group that aims to ensure that the UK does all it can to prevent genocides and other crimes against humanity and to increase the flow of independent information and analysis to British Parliamentarians about genocides and crimes against humanity. Its focus is on cross-cutting issues and specific events rather than having a geographic or thematic focus such as the responsibility to protect (R2P).
In addition, on May 27, 2021, during a Parliamentary debate on Genocide: Bringing Perpetrators to Justice, The Minister of State Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Lord Tariq Ahmad, said:
‘The pursuit of international criminal justice and accountability remains at the heart of our foreign policy. The noble Lord, Lord Collins, mentioned the human rights report; that was a timely reminder, as it is currently coming across my desk. I hope that the noble Lord appreciates my personal commitment to ensuring that human rights remain very much at the heart of the work of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and of the Government. The Government remain committed to the principle that there should be no impunity for those who perpetrate the most serious crimes of international concern, and we remain at the forefront of efforts to hold perpetrators of such crimes to account’