‘Deeply troubling’ to cover up Hyde Park Holocaust memorial for Palestine march

Concealing reminders of the Shoah, merely ‘addresses the symptoms while ignoring the root cause of the issue’


The Holocaust memorial in Hyde Park was covered by Royal Parks officials during the Saturday's march (Photos: Getty/X)

Yad Vashem has described the decision to cover up the Holocaust memorial in London’s Hyde Park as a “precautionary measure” during a Palestine protest on Saturday as “deeply troubling”.

The World Holocaust Remembrance Centre in Israel was joined by the UK’s Association for Jewish Refugees (AJR) and the Board of Deputies in expressing dismay at the move by Royal Parks officials.

The monument to the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust was covered in blue tarpaulin and guarded by police officers as the latest anti-Israel march came to an end and demonstrators gathered for speeches in Hyde Park.

Expressing “deep concern” over recent reports of Shoah memorials and monuments being covered in both the UK and the US, Yad Vashem said: “Holocaust memorials serve as solemn reminders of the unparalleled horrors perpetrated, during one of the darkest chapters in human history. They stand as testaments to the millions of innocent lives lost and are beacons of hope so that such atrocities cannot and will never be allowed to occur once more.

“The decision to cover up Holocaust memorials and exhibitions out of fear from the scourge of global antisemitism is deeply troubling. By concealing these historical reminders, we are only addressing the symptoms while ignoring the root cause of the issue.”

It went on to “[implore] authorities to address the heart of the events: hatred and antisemitism. These are the true issues that are eating away at the moral fabric of our society.”

The AJR, which represents and cares for Holocaust survivors and refugees, said it is “deeply upset that it has been necessary to cover up this poignant memorial, commemorating the six million victims of Nazi genocide”.

It added: “That a monument remembering the Holocaust should be under attack is a stain on our society and will be distressing to all those who lost loved ones.

“This development also underscores the need to tackle and combat antisemitism.”

Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the organisation that funded the memorial, said: “It's appalling that such precautions need to be taken to protect the memorial because of the risk it may now be defaced.”

The Mail on Sunday, which devoted its front page to the cover-up incorrectly suggested in its accompanying headline that Metropolitan Police had been responsible for hiding the memorial, though its coverage subsequently made clear this was a Royal Parks decision.

The headline, “Police are so cowed by the antisemitic mob, they even cover up the Holocaust” prompted a public response from the force which issued a pointed statement on X/Twitter.

“This is an inaccurate headline that will only fuel community concerns,” the statement read. “The decision to cover the memorial was taken by park authorities, not the police. As the paper’s own article makes clear, it is a precaution Royal Parks have taken for a number of different events.”

It is not clear for which other events Royal Parks has covered the Holocaust memorial in the past. Royal Parks officials have been contacted for comment.

Commenting on the decision to shroud the memorial in plastic sheeting, Holocaust survivor Noemi Ebenstein told the MoS: “It is shameful. Seeing this, it feels like they are winning. Those who are Jew haters, those who are Holocaust deniers, they are winning because we are afraid of them.

“I just wish the Western world would stand up to these people, instead of running away, covering up monuments and being apologetic.”

According to the Met, two arrests were made during the pro-Palestine march on Saturday, with one man arrested for holding a placard with a swastika and the second arrested for making racist remarks towards counter-protesters.

Gideon Falter, the CEO of Campaign Against Antisemitism, cancelled a protest walk scheduled to take place at the same time as yesterday’s pro-Palestine march, citing concerns for the safety of Jewish participants.

Falter has been calling for Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley’s resignation over perceived failures to adequately police the marches in central London, where numerous displays of antisemitism have been documented. Last week Falter met with British officials to discuss improvements to the policing of protests.

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