Roman Abramovich, the billionaire owner of Chelsea Football Club, has made a “generous contribution” towards the new £30.5 million Holocaust exhibition at the Imperial War Museum (IWM).
The Russian’s contribution to the museum’s Holocaust Galleries will also be bolstered by a fundraiser later this year, held at Chelsea’s home ground, Stamford Bridge.
The galleries, set to open in 2021, will focus on the Second World War and the Shoah, and will be complemented by a state-of-the-art “learning suite”.
Bruce Buck, Chelsea’s chairman, said: “Mr Abramovich and the club are very pleased to contribute to IWM’s new Holocaust galleries which we believe will help improve education and awareness about the Holocaust.”
Earlier this month the club announced a new approach to tackling racism and antisemitism among its supporters, after a number of embarrassing incidents in recent years.
Mr Abramovich, who is Jewish, is thought to be behind the drivem which will aim to “educate and rehabilitate” offenders, rather than issue stadium bans, which have not proved effective, the club has said.
Diane Lees, director general of the IWM, said: “This donation will enable IWM to reinterpret these galleries, which will present critical insights into the Holocaust as well as integrate the devastating events of the Holocaust into the broader history of the Second World War, revealing why this often overlooked dimension is so important.”
The Holocaust Galleries’ opening has been overshadowed by the government’s proposal for a national Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre outside parliament in Westminster.
The IWM urged a re-think of the memorial and learning centre earlier this month, warning it would “very much divide the public offer on learning about the Holocaust.”
Elsewhere, the prominent Dangoor family has donated £5 million to Imperial College London to fund its world-leading cancer research centre.
David, the businessman son of Sir Naim Dangoor, and Elie Dangoor, announced the donation this week, saying the family is a “robust supporter of creating space for education and discovery”.