Helena Bonham Carter to sit on David Cameron's Holocaust Commission

By Marcus Dysch, January 27, 2014
Actress Helena Bonham Carter will sit on the new Holocaust Commission

Actress Helena Bonham Carter will sit on the new Holocaust Commission

Hollywood actress Helena Bonham Carter, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and senior politicians Michael Gove and Ed Balls will sit on the new Holocaust Commission announced by David Cameron.

The cross-party, multi-faith group will investigate ways to educate future generations of Britons about the Shoah.

The group's membership was announced this morning to coincide with Holocaust Memorial Day.

Other leading figures include broadcaster Natasha Kaplinsky, educator Dame Helen Hyde and Arts Council chair Sir Peter Bazalgette.

The commissioners will meet more than 50 Shoah survivors at a Downing Street reception to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2014 later today.

In a speech at the reception Mr Cameron will call for members of the public to provide evidence to the commission between now and the end of May.

Regional evidence sessions will be held around the country and a youth representative will be selected to join the group.

Mr Cameron initially announced plans for the commission last September at the Holocaust Educational Trust's 25th anniversary dinner. It will be chaired by Jewish Leadership Council chairman Mick Davis.

Announcing the additional details today, the Prime Minister said: "Survivors have played a vital role in keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive, but we will not always have these remarkable individuals with us.

"We face a real danger that, as the events of the Holocaust become ever more distant, they feel increasingly remote to current and future generations.

"This cross-party, national Commission representing our whole society will investigate what more needs to be done to ensure Britain has a permanent and fitting memorial and the educational resources needed for generations to come.”

Ms Bonham Carter, who comes from a Jewish background, and whose grandfather Eduardo Propper de Callejon saved hundreds of Jews during the Shoah, said: "I am very honoured to be asked to join this commission and do so in particular memory of those members of my family who died in the Holocaust and as an inherited responsibility to my grandfather who made a significant personal sacrifice to save hundreds of lives.

β€œIt is our generations' legacy to create a living memory that will survive the survivors and forever remind future generations of the inhumanity man is capable of committing to its own kind.”

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis thanked Mr Cameron for his "vision and foresight" and said: "This is a unique opportunity to shape commemoration and education of the greatest evil perpetuated by man, ensuring that we in Britain learn the lessons and do our utmost to prevent the reoccurrence of such atrocities against any group anywhere in the world."

Holocaust Memorial Day's main event will take place in Westminster at the QEII Conference Centre this afternoon. Those in attendance will include survivors of the Holocaust and other genocides, ministers, parliamentarians, ambassadors, and civic and religious leaders.

Local events are also taking place across the UK.

Last updated: 2:06pm, January 27 2014