Baroness adds to crit­i­cism of Holo­caust memo­rial

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BY LEE HARPIN

BARONESS DEECH has be­come the lat­est high-pro­file fig­ure to ques­tion the plans for a na­tional Holo­caust memo­rial next to Par­lia­ment in West­min­ster.

The cross-bench peer ar­gues that some of the £50 mil­lion bud­get for the memo­rial and ac­com­pa­ny­ing learn­ing cen­tre to be erected in Vic­to­ria Tower Gar­dens would have been bet­ter spent on im­prov­ing Holo­caust ed­u­ca­tion in schools.

In a let­ter to the JC, Baroness Deech, a for­mer prin­ci­pal of St Anne’s Col­lege, Ox­ford, writes: “We al­ready have in this country about 10 Holo­caust memo­ri­als. None has pre­vented the re­cent rise in an­ti­semitism and at­tempts to dele­git­imise Is­rael.

She con­tin­ues: “We should be ask­ing why some stu­dents, who have stud­ied the Holo­caust at school, seem not to have made the con­nec­tion between that event, and Jewish peo­ple and their state to­day.” In sub­se­quent com­ments, she said she had made a sub­mis­sion to the govern­ment’s Holo­caust Com­mis­sion “ar­gu­ing you have to im­prove the re­la­tion­ship between Holo­caust ed­u­ca­tion and at­ti­tudes to Jewish peo­ple and to Is­rael.”

Echo­ing crit­i­cism made in last week’s JC by Con­ser­va­tive peer Lord Wasser­man, Baroness Deech said that lo­cat­ing the memo­rial in West­min­ster raised added se­cu­rity is­sues.

She said: “Se­cu­rity is in­deed a prob­lem. I have been very up­set and both­ered by the graf­fiti that one finds.

“Dam­age is done across the world to Jewish memo­ri­als, whether it is van­dal­ism of grave­yards or swastikas daubed on pub­lic build­ings, here and through­out Europe.

“In or­der to pro­tect this new memo­rial it will need to be guarded with fences and so on. It’s not re­ally the im­age one wants to give.”

She added that the lo­ca­tion needed to be quiet and re­flec­tive.

Baroness Deech — whose late his­to­rian fa­ther Josef Fraenkel fled Vi­enna and then Prague from the Nazis while sev­eral other her fam­ily mem­bers were mur­dered in con­cen­tra­tion camps — said she had heard crit­i­cism of the lo­ca­tion from friends at so­cial oc­ca­sions she at­tended.

She added: “Peo­ple say ‘why are spend­ing £50mil­lon on this memo­rial — what is it for?’”

Ten de­signs, in­clud­ing this one by ar­chi­tects Heneghan Peng, are be­ing con­sid­ered for the £50 mil­lion Holo­caust memo­rial. Baroness Deech says £50 mil­lion could be bet­ter spent on ed­u­ca­tion

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