David Cameron 'filled with grief' for Holocaust victims on visit to Auschwitz


David Cameron lit a candle in memory of six million victims of the Holocaust on a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland today.

It was his first visit to the camp as prime minister.

Mr Cameron was accompanied by Jewish Leadership Council head Mick Davis, who is chair of the Holocaust Commission set up by Mr Cameron this year.

The pair walked around the site where one million people were killed, 90 per cent of whom were Jews.

The Prime Minister was met by museum director Piotr Cywinski. At Birkenau he placed a candle on the UK stone of the memorial.

Mr Cameron wrote in the visitors' book: "I wanted to come and see for myself this place where the darkest chapter of human history happened.

"Words cannot describe the horror that took place - making it even more important that we never forget. As Elie Wiesel said, failing to remember those who were murdered would be akin to killing them all over again.

"The survivors have done so much to tell us about what took place. Today they are becoming fewer in number so I hope the Holocaust Commission we have established will teach future generations what took place - and that we must never forget all those who were murdered here and at other camps and at other places. We must always remember what happened."

In a statement following the visit, Mr Cameron said: "I wanted to come here to see for myself the place where over one million people, the vast majority from Europe's Jewish communities, lost their lives at the hands of the murderous Nazi regime. And I wanted to better understand what they went through and to underline the importance of educating future generations about the Holocaust.

"While I have talked to many Holocaust survivors about their experiences before, coming here has really brought home the terror and torture they faced. As I walked round the gas chamber, past the children's shoes and down the railway tracks, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of grief for all those who were killed simply because of their faith, their beliefs or their ethnicity.

"It has reinforced for me the importance of the work our Holocaust Commission is doing to ensure we educate future generations so that they never have to witness such genocide. Next month, as we mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the Holocaust Commission will set out their proposals. Like the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, the focus must be on remembrance, preservation and education.

"It is also a reminder of why the UK must fight against prejudice, persecution, anti-semitism and tyranny wherever we find it and stand up for inclusiveness, tolerance and peace."

Mr Cameron had said he wished to visit the concentration camp ahead of the 70th anniversary of the camp’s liberation next year.

The visit comes after the he vowed to fight the rise in antisemitism in the UK at Norwood charity’s annual dinner last month.

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: "With the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and the end of the Holocaust next year, this visit is fitting and timely."

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive