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Archbishop backs proposal for Holocaust memorial beside London’s Houses of Parliament

Posted on: August 15, 2019 2:26 PM
Archbishop Justin Welby at Auschwitz, 2017
Photo Credit: Lambeth Palace

[ACNS, by Rachel Farmer] The Archbishop of Canterbury has given his support to plans for a Holocaust memorial and museum next to the Palace of Westminster in central London.

Archbishop Justin Welby is among other senior faith leaders to back the proposal to build a series of bronze structures in Victoria Tower Gardens, alongside the river Thames and the Palace of Westminster.

The plans include an underground learning centre to commemorate the millions killed by the Nazis during the Second World War.

Archbishop Justin has written to Westminster Council urging it to approve the proposed memorial saying it was vital to preserve “the memory of the thin line which distinguishes us from the atrocities of the past.”

The Holocaust memorial was first proposed in 2015, but there has been some opposition to its location which would take up more than a quarter of the park.

Advisors to UNESCO, the Environment Agency, and the Royal Parks have all raised concerns that the memorial could impair sightlines to Parliament, compromise flood defences, and harm the park’s function as a green space in the heart of central London.

Supporters have stated that rising anti-Semitism internationally made the case for the educational centre and memorial even stronger.

The Archbishop and national faith leaders of the Jewish, Catholic and Muslim communities have said that it is essential to site the memorial centre next to the epicentre of British democracy.

Writing in support, Justin Welby said: "Memory comes from experience and education. Experience is deepened by symbolism. The symbolism of this centre, right next to the home of our democracy is profound and hugely powerful."

He added: "I believe it will add significantly to the status of the City of Westminster as a place of government that is a world model."