Support the National Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre - make your voice heard today

click here graphic


My name is Sir Ben Helfgott.

I was born in Piotrkow, Poland. At the age of nine, my childhood was torn apart by the outbreak of the Second World War. My family were moved into the ghetto, my mother and sister shot, and my father and I were taken to Buchenwald concentration camp, along with 300 other Jewish men. I was later separated from my father and was transported to Schlieben concentration camp and then Theresienstadt. In 1945, I was liberated. My sister and I were the only surviving members of my immediate family. I found out that my father had been shot near to the end of the war, whilst trying to escape from a Death March.

I went on to build a life here in the UK. Only a few years after liberation I competed in the 1950 Maccabiah games, in my chosen sport of weightlifting. I captained the British Olympic team and competed in 2 Olympic Games and 1 Commonwealth Games. I married and had a family and in 1963 established the 45 Aid Society for British Holocaust survivors.

I work with charities such as the Holocaust Educational Trust, sitting as an Honorary Patron for the charity, to make sure the memory of the Holocaust lives on.

The Nazi regime destroyed Jewish families, towns and communities across Europe – often in their entirety. In the UK we do not currently have a significant memorial to the Holocaust, despite that fact that it is also part of our history. Refugees fleeing Nazi persecution travelled to the UK; survivors like me came to the UK after liberation, and we made Britain our home; British forces liberated concentration camps such as Bergen Belsen; it is a period in history that I hope we will remember.

Plans to build a UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre, to ensure people commemorate the 6 million Jewish men, women and children who were murdered, and to share the stories of the survivors who made this country home, are well underway.

In 2017 I was part of the United Kingdom Holocaust Memorial International Design Competition Jury, which interviewed the shortlist of candidates, and unanimously selected the team led by Adjaye Associates and Ron Arad Architects as the winner of the competition. A planning application for this project has now been submitted.

Today, I am asking that you take a few minutes to show your support for the Memorial. Westminster Council are seeking feedback on the planning application for this Memorial, and I’d be so grateful if you could let them know why you think it is so important to have a UK Holocaust Memorial in Westminster, the heart of British democracy. Tell Westminster Council why we must always remember. And encourage others to do the same. Sadly, there are many who oppose the Memorial - we need to make our voices of support heard.

Please, join me in supporting the National Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre.

click here graphic

I’m incredibly hopeful that the planned UK Holocaust Memorial will ensure that Holocaust remembrance and education remains part of our national memory. Thank you for your support.

Yours sincerely,

Sir Ben Helfgott