James Brokenshire tells survivors he is 'personally committed' to Holocaust Memorial going ahead

Communities Secretary makes pledge on Westminster site during visit to Jewish Care's Holocaust Survivors' Centre


Housing and Communities Secretary James Brokenshire told survivors today that he was confident that plans for the National Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre next to Parliament will go ahead, despite objections from heritage organisations.

Visiting Jewish Care's Holocaust Survivors' Centre in Hendon, Mr Brokenshire said: “I understand there are local concerns with residents but we are working with the council on that. It it is all part of the planning process.”

He was “personally committed” to ensuring the plans to build the memorial in Victoria Park Gardens would proceed.

The memorial would  “underline that sense of remembrance, looking back at the appalling atrocities of the Holocaust, but equally the how we must challenge bigotry, hatred and division".

Historic England, which is tasked with protecting the country's historical environment, wrote to Westminster Council in March about  its “concerns... on heritage grounds”.

But Mr Brokenshire believed the location should be viewed in a positive light as an example of “what government can do - and what can happen when it fails to act”.

He was keen to dispel some of the misconceptions he said some have about the memorial, which would be “sensitive to the site itself. The building will only take up seven per cent of the area.”

It was important “not to forget” the purpose of the educational centre, as “a means of learning. It is there to challenge our thinking and what we can do as individuals.”

During his visit, Mr Brokenshire announced plans for a time capsule at the centre, which he encouraged survivors to contribute to.

"Having their lived experiences recorded is just so important. I’m keen for that to be at the heart of our work.”

He also told survivors about his personal connection to the Holocaust. “My father in law, who was Jewish, was assisted out of Germany by Frank Foley, the Mi6 agent."

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