The prime minister has revealed plans to launch an international design competition for a new national Holocaust memorial next to the Houses of Parliament in Westminster
Speaking earlier today (27 January), David Cameron said the contest for a ’striking and prominent’ memorial in Victoria Tower Gardens would be launched in the ’coming weeks’.
The prime minister also announced a separate project to build ’an associated world-class learning centre to challenge prejudice in all its forms’, and said further details would be unveiled ’in the coming months’.
Last year the Holocaust Commission produced a report looking at how the country should ‘ensure the memory of the Holocaust is preserved and that the lessons it teaches are never forgotten’.
The document, entitled Britain’s Promise to Remember, included concept designs drawn up by John McAslan + Partners for a memorial within the Millbank Tower as part of plans to revamp the grade II-listed tower (see AJ 29.07.15).
The memorial project is being taken taken forward by the cross-party backed UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation chaired by Peter Bazalgette.
Board members include the SNP’s Alex Salmond, Conservative peer Andrew Feldman, former Labour MP Ed Balls and Liberal Democrat peer David Alliance.
Cameron said: ‘I know the whole house will want to join me in marking Holocaust Memorial Day.
‘It is right our whole country should stand together to remember the darkest hour of humanity. Last year, on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, I said we would build a striking national memorial in London to show the importance Britain places on preserving the memory of the Holocaust.
‘Today I can tell the house this memorial will be built in Victoria Tower Gardens. It will stand beside Parliament as a permanent statement of our values as a nation and will be something for our children to visit for generations to come. I’m grateful to all those who have made this possible and who have given this work the cross-party status it so profoundly deserves.’
Bazalgette commented: ‘The task of the Holocaust Memorial Foundation was to find a site that would allow a striking, prominent and iconic memorial to be built. There is nowhere better to achieve this than beside Parliament. I stood there with a Holocaust survivor earlier this week, and I will never forget his reaction when I told him of our plans.
‘It demonstrated how we are doing the right thing for Britain’s Holocaust survivors in preserving the memory of humanity’s darkest hour.
’But just as importantly, we’re doing the right thing for our country by creating a permanent reminder of the need to fight hatred and prejudice in all its forms.’
John McAslan + Partners’ proposals for a Holocaust Museum taken from The Prime Minister’s Holocaust Commission Report (January 2015)