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January 27, 2014 4:44 pm

UK PM Cameron Names Holocaust Commission to Include Chief Rabbi Mirvis, Helena Bonham Carter

avatar by Joshua Levitt

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Holocaust survivor Ben Helfgott, MBE, who survived Nazi camps Theresienstadt and Buchenwald went on to captain the British Olympic Weighlifting Team, in 1956 and 1960, three student ambassadors from the Jack Hunt School, Peterborough, and British Prime Minister David Cameron, receiving the Holocaust Educational Trust's Holocaust Memorial Day Book of Commitment, at 10 Downing Street, London. Photo: Holocaust Educational Trust.

Holocaust survivor Ben Helfgott, MBE, who survived Nazi camps Theresienstadt and Buchenwald went on to captain the British Olympic Weighlifting Team, in 1956 and 1960, three student ambassadors from the Jack Hunt School, Peterborough, and British Prime Minister David Cameron, receiving the Holocaust Educational Trust's Holocaust Memorial Day Book of Commitment, at 10 Downing Street, London. Photo: Holocaust Educational Trust.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday, Holocaust Memorial Day, announced the formation of a Holocaust Commission which will seek ways to educate future generations of Britons about the Shoah. The board will include Commonwealth Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, senior politicians Michael Gove and Ed Balls and Hollywood actress Helena Bonham Carter, according to the UK’s Jewish Chronicle.

The newspaper said other members include broadcaster Natasha Kaplinsky, educator Dame Helen Hyde and Arts Council chair Sir Peter Bazalgette, while a youth representative will also be selected to join the group. UK Jewish Leadership Council chairman Mick Davis will also chair the commission.

The new commissioners will meet some 50 Shoah survivors at a reception held at the Prime Minister’s residence, 10 Downing Street. In a speech, Cameron will ask the public to provide testimony to the commission between now and the end of May, with regional evidence sessions to be held around the country. Cameron announced plans for the commission last September at the Holocaust Educational Trust’s 25th anniversary dinner.

On Monday, Cameron said, “Survivors have played a vital role in keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive, but we will not always have these remarkable individuals with us. We face a real danger that, as the events of the Holocaust become ever more distant, they feel increasingly remote to current and future generations. This cross-party, national Commission representing our whole society will investigate what more needs to be done to ensure Britain has a permanent and fitting memorial and the educational resources needed for generations to come.”

The Jewish Chrinicle reported that Bonham Carter, who comes from a Jewish background, and whose grandfather Eduardo Propper de Callejon saved hundreds of Jews during the Shoah, said: “I am very honored to be asked to join this commission and do so in particular memory of those members of my family who died in the Holocaust and as an inherited responsibility to my grandfather who made a significant personal sacrifice to save hundreds of lives. It is our generations’ legacy to create a living memory that will survive the survivors and forever remind future generations of the inhumanity man is capable of committing to its own kind.”

Chief Rabbi Mirvis said, “This is a unique opportunity to shape commemoration and education of the greatest evil perpetuated by man, ensuring that we in Britain learn the lessons and do our utmost to prevent the re-occurrence of such atrocities against any group anywhere in the world.”

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