Wednesday, 7 May, 2014

On Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) this year, Prime Minister David Cameron announced the launch of his Holocaust Commission to an audience of survivors at Number 10, and now he is asking for your contribution.

The objective of the Commission is to establish how the Holocaust should be taught and memorialised for future generations in the face of an ageing group of survivors who will unfortunately not be with us forever to tell their life stories. Preventing their memories from being lost is imperative.

The commissioners are not coming up with the answer to this big question in isolation. They have made a call to the public to provide their opinions on the matter by answering a short online survey, which will then be used by two expert groups on education and commemoration to look for gaps in provision and opportunities to improve on these for the future.

Having a broad spread of the population represented in the evidence is vital to the success of the Holocaust Commission, and that is why everyone's contributions are so important.

If you organise an activity for HMD, you can include your experiences and highlight how the event had a big impact on the attendees. You could also make sure the commissioners are aware of how participants at local HMD activities are able to learn about the Holocaust and relate it to contemporary issues today.

'At the heart of the Holocaust Commission is the need to Keep the memory alive for future generations. But to succeed in doing this, the commissioners need the help of the British public,' said Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.

'If you organise or attend HMD activities you are well placed to contribute. By offering your opinion, you will be directly contributing to improving the effectiveness of Holocaust education and commemoration in the UK, ensuring not only that we remember those who suffered but also use our knowledge of the past to fight contemporary discrimination and persecution.'

There are six questions as part of the consultation, addressing existing knowledge of Holocaust education and commemoration, what can be done to strengthen these areas for future generations, and how survivor testimonies can be best preserved.

Survivors too are playing a key role in the Holocaust Commission, and Number 10 brought more than 400 together at Wembley Stadium to gather their views. It was one of the biggest congregation of survivors ever in the UK, and host Natasha Kaplinsky encouraged the audience to share how they believe the Holocaust should be taught and remembered in the future.

Number 10 is also offering a fantastic opportunity for young people to contribute to the Holocaust Commission. Those under 21 can enter an essay competition answering the question: ‘Why is it so important that we remember the Holocaust and how can we make sure future generations never forget?’ The overall winner, chosen by Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, will be granted a seat on the Commission itself, while six runners up will get a place on its youth forum.

The closing date for both the consultation and the youth competition is Friday 30 May, giving you plenty of to think about your views and write the essay, if you are eligible.