The work of Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) is overseen by a board of Trustees which is responsible for the governance and strategic vision of our work.
Our Trustees are from a broad range of backgrounds and contribute to our work through regular board meetings and liaison with the HMDT staff team.
Each Trustee stands for a minimum of one three-year term, and is eligible to be re-elected for one further three-year term after this time. Three of the places on our board are reserved for those from the Board of Deputies and two for the Holocaust Educational Trust.
Sir Ben Helfgott - Honorary President
Ben was born in Poland in 1929. During the Nazi occupation he was sent to several concentration camps. Most of his family did not survive the Holocaust. After liberation from Theresienstadt, Ben moved to the UK. He trained as a weightlifter, competing in two Olympic Games. Ben has worked tirelessly in the field of Holocaust commemoration, and HMDT is proud that he represents us as our Honorary President.
'Because of my childhood experiences in the ghettos and concentration camps, the hallmark of my life has been the promotion of harmonious relationships and better understanding toward my fellow human beings. Having witnessed how quickly people can descend to committing acts of barbarism, I was determined to warn contemporary society of the potential for genocide if the lessons of the Holocaust are ignored. I strive to overcome bigotry and racial prejudice brought about by ignorance and intolerance. To this purpose I spend much of my time promoting research, education and remembrance of the Holocaust in the hope that the lessons of the Holocaust may be understood and learned. The aims of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust coincide with my own and hence I am happy to be a part of it.'
The Rt Hon the Lord Pickles - Honorary Vice President
Lord Eric Pickles became Holocaust Memorial Day Trust's Honorary Vice President in January 2018.
Lord Pickles was appointed Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust issues in September 2015, replacing Sir Andrew Burns. Lord Pickles works closely with the wide range of Holocaust academics, survivors and educational and social organisations in the UK.
Lord Pickles was Conservative MP for Brentwood and Ongar from 1992 until he stood down at the general election in June 2017. He was formerly Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
Laura Marks OBE - Chair
Laura is a consultant (The Common Good) and activist focussing on issues relating to faith and gender.
After a career in marketing, she founded Mitzvah Day in 2008, which brings people of different faiths together through social action, and now operates in over 20 countries.
Building on her interest in faith groups and in women, Laura co-founded Nisa-Nashim, a national Muslim Jewish women’s network in 2016 and has also set up a multi faith Women’s Faith Forum to feed into policy issues of today. She is former SVP of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and a current trustee of the Jewish Leadership Council and the Commonwealth Jewish Council.
Laura has advisory roles on the UK Freedom of Religion or Belief Forum and the Mayor of London’s Equalities Diversity and Inclusion advisory group.
She is a regular contributor to BBC 2 Pause for Thought with Zoe Ball and writes and speaks regularly.
Laura joined the board of HMDT in 2013 and became Chair of the trustees in 2016.
She has 3 adult offspring, two dogs, is married to Dan Patterson and lives in London.
Sir Leigh Lewis - Vice Chair
Following a career of nearly 40 years in the Civil Service – the last five as Permanent Secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions from 2005 to 2010 – Leigh has over the last nine years undertaken a variety of roles in the public, private and not for profit sectors. Currently Leigh is Chair of Trustees at Drinkaware, the alcohol education charity, and Vice President of the homelessness charity, St Mungo’s.
In addition, he is a non-executive Director of Ombudsman Services, the UK’s largest provider of alternative dispute resolution services and of Fair4All Finance, a body established by Government to promote affordable borrowing. Leigh is also a visiting fellow at Greenwich University Business School.
Local to his home, Leigh is a Deputy from Watford Synagogue to the Board of Deputies of British Jews and a lifelong supporter and season ticket holder at Watford FC.
Amanda King - Treasurer
Amanda has twenty years’ experience as a finance professional. After qualifying as an accountant in practice she worked in a variety of finance roles for the Walt Disney Company, Cable and Wireless Plc and the Centrica Group. Most recently she was CFO of a start-up technology company in the energy sector. Alongside her career she has worked in a voluntary capacity for a primary school and for her local church.
Amanda has a degree in Modern History from Keble College, Oxford. ‘I believe that understanding the past is critical to understanding the present and creating a better future. The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust’s work helps us all better understand the Holocaust and other genocides. With that understanding we can create a better future’.
David has 30 years of diplomatic and international experience, working primarily on genocide and conflict prevention. Having studied history at Cambridge and SOAS, David worked for the UN in Cambodia, including advising on the establishment of the tribunal for Khmer Rouge leaders. After joining the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1999, David helped secure UK ratification of the International Criminal Court. He has subsequently worked to end conflicts and pursue justice in the former Yugoslavia, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Since January 2021, he is the British Ambassador to Madagascar.
David said: ‘My father, now 96, and all my grandparents were Jewish refugees from Germany. My wife is a Cambodian survivor of the killing fields. Unsurprisingly I feel passionate about the need both to honour the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides, and to stop such crimes from being repeated in today's world.’
Ruth has over 20 years of experience as a leadership and organisational development consultant and coach, working in diverse businesses across the commercial and not for profit sectors. She is also a part time lecturer for the Management diploma at Birkbeck, London University. Ruth has a Masters in HR and is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
She has significant experience as an educator, having taught in schools, and throughout her career has encouraged people of all ages to fulfil their potential. Her more recent voluntary work includes Childline and Pet Therapy.
‘As a child of refugees, HMDT aligns with my core values of tolerance, equality, valuing difference and building communities. I strongly believe that through education, sharing stories and acting as role models we can enable people to come together and value each other’s diversity.’
John Howell OBE MP
John Howell OBE is the Member of Parliament for the Henley Constituency. He has a long interest in the Holocaust and the individuals who perished at the hands of Nazi Persecution, and also in more recent genocides. He has wide international contacts and interests including Africa and Central Europe where the genocides in Rwanda and Srebrenica occurred. He believes it is vital to remember what happened in these conflicts, to root out holocaust denial and to protect the world from further antisemitism in particular.
John has served in Parliament in various roles and has been a longstanding member of the Justice Select Committee. He is the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Nigeria, and also sits as a UK representative on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). John is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators where his interests include arbitration and especially mediation.
Hannah Lewis MBE
Hannah Lewis was born in 1937 in Wlodawa, Poland. During the Nazi occupation, Hannah and her family were rounded up and taken to a camp in Adampol, where sadly she witnessed her mother being killed. Her father managed to escape and joined the Partisans, before finding Hannah and living in Lodz after the war.
Hannah now lives in London and has been sharing her experiences in schools and universities for several years so that young people today can seek to understand the impact the Holocaust has on the contemporary world.
‘Holocaust and genocide commemoration are both important to me in view of my experiences as a child witnessing the degradation that follows such insane obsessions, and the necessity to do all I can to stop this happening again anywhere in the world.’
Michael worked in business for many years and has been an active Trustee in the charity sector for decades. He is currently a Trustee of JW3 (a Jewish cultural and community centre), The Separated Child Foundation (a trust providing comfort and welfare to child refugees in the UK) and The Jonathan Levene Music Scholarship (a trust providing assistance to socially disadvantaged young and aspiring musicians).
For many years, Michael was the Chairman of the London Jewish Cultural Centre (LJCC). As part of the LJCC’s Holocaust teaching and awareness programme, the organisation funded and produced the Holocaust Explained website to help learners understand the essential facts of the Holocaust, its causes and its consequences.
Michael’s late mother-in-law Mascha and many of her sisters and brothers were survivors of Auschwitz and other concentration and labour camps during the Holocaust, and provided testimony of their terrible experiences.
Dr Joe Mulhall
Joe is a historian of British based fascism, racism, antisemitism and Holocaust denial currently undertaking a PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London. Prior to this he was the National Campaign Organiser at the anti-fascist and anti-racist campaign organisation HOPE not hate where he worked on community campaigns countering the contemporary far-right.
'Researching and writing about those who seek to deny the existence of the Holocaust makes one realise the importance of the truth. If we are not vigilant in remembering there are people who will seek to prosper from our forgetfulness. That is why HMDT’s mission of remembering the Holocaust and subsequent genocides is vital in the fight to stop us from repeating the mistakes of our past.'
Dr Anita Peleg
Anita is senior lecturer in Marketing Research and Business Ethics at London South Bank University. With 18 years’ experience in education, she is responsible for curriculum design, course management and delivery and in 2012 she was recognized by the Higher Education Academy and appointed a National Teaching Fellow. Anita has carried out significant research into the Holocaust and published a book about her mother, Naomi Blake, a survivor of the Holocaust. She has also been invited to speak about the Holocaust in universities and both Jewish and Christian religious institutions.
‘As an educator and the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, I am committed to ensuring that the stories of survivors of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides are told and that their legacy is put to positive educational use. We must remember that the Holocaust happened on our doorstep and its seeds were born out of years of racism and discrimination. HMDT provides a vital framework to encourage people to take responsibility for activities that educate about genocide and against racism across different communities.’
Rev Mark Poulson
Mark taught for nine years in two state secondary schools in inner urban West Midlands until being ordained in the Church of England in 2000. He served parishes in Wembley and Southall in London and was the Inter Religious Relations Adviser to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Church of England until 2018.
He is now Canon for Interfaith Relations at St Paul’s Cathedral. Still passionate about education, he is governor of two Southall schools – primary and secondary. He is developing a training hub for cross-cultural and interfaith awareness training called the Kings Centre Southall.
Tulip Siddiq MP
Tulip Siddiq was elected in 2015 and represents Hampstead and Kilburn in London. In Parliament, she has worked as a Shadow Education Minister and is now a member of the Women and Equalities Select Committee.
She is part of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) against Antisemitism, the APPG on refugees and the APPG on childcare.
Previously a Councillor and Cabinet Member in Camden, Tulip Siddiq has also worked for Amnesty International, the Greater London Authority and Brunswick Group LLP.
She is a primary school governor, a trustee of Cocoon Family Support charity and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
She lives in West Hampstead with her husband Chris and daughter Azalea.
Naved is a social scientist and trainer, and is currently a Consultant Researcher at the Woolf Institute, where his special interests include faith issues in palliative care.
Naved was a Research Fellow at the Policy Research Centre, with interests in policy concerns on civil issues and faith. He has trained extensively across the public and third sector on issues of identity, integration, social change and extremism. He served as a School Governor and teaches GCSE Islam in several Jewish schools.
Naved Siddiqi is a Trustee of New Horizons in British Islam and served as a board member of the Islamic Society of Britain. He was tutored in theology and in Islamic social and political history by the late Professor Zaki Badawi, and is a reader in anthropology and comparative law, including the contextualisation of Sharia. He tweets @ThisisNaved.
Danny Stone MBE
Danny Stone is the Director of the PCAA Foundation. His role is wide ranging and includes working closely with parliamentarians of all parties to secure action on Antisemitism. Before taking up his role Danny was a senior lobbyist at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and a Political Advisor to a member of the House of Lords. Danny has a Masters degree in politics and is an MCIPR with a diploma in Public Relations.
'Preserving the memory and learning the lessons of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides is key to our future as a civilised society. The work of HMDT is so important because it can frame a more positive future for us all.'
Marie van der Zyl
Marie van der Zyl was elected President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews in May 2018. In the past three years she has played a crucial part in the fight against antisemitism in the Labour Party. Her quote, labelling the Chakrabarti report as a 'whitewash', was carried widely across national media. Marie was at the forefront of the campaign against the so-called 'cab-rank' policy, by which the Inner North London Coroner delayed the release of bodies to Jewish families. The High Court recently ruled that this policy was discriminatory. Her negotiations with King’s College London resulted in its adoption of the internationally recognised IHRA definition of antisemitism and she has energetically pursued interfaith relations with Britain’s faith communities.
Marie, who represents JLGB, is married with two girls. In her professional life she is a solicitor specialising in employment /equalities law and a partner at Gordon Dadds LLP.