The Holocaust Centre is the only centre dedicated to Holocaust remembrance and education in the UK.
In 1991, brothers Stephen and James Smith visited Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem. It was a day that would change their lives. Up to this point, Stephen was running a confectionery manufacturing business and James was practising as a medical doctor.
At Yad Vashem, they began to realize that the Holocaust was not just a Jewish problem, but a problem for anyone brave enough to face the fact that the Holocaust has consequences for us all. Following a further visit to Eastern Europe to see the destroyed communities and death camps, they decided to create a memorial and education centre.
Stephen and James’s parents had been running a retreat centre in the Nottinghamshire countryside. It was decided that this picturesque, peaceful location would be ideal for such a centre. With the support of their mother, Marina, who went on to work for ten years as the Head of Education, in 1995 The Holocaust Centre was opened to the public.
As well as the Memorial Museum, a permanent exhibition that educates visitors on what happened during the Holocaust, the Centre has recently opened Europe’s first Holocaust education exhibit aimed specifically at primary school children. Entitled ‘The Journey’, it gives children the chance to learn about the Holocaust in an age-appropriate manner. The Holocaust Centre is also home to the Aegis Trust, the leading UK-based genocide prevention organisation, which developed from its work.
Over 20,000 children visit the Centre each year. Entry costs are subsidized to ensure all schools can afford to visit. Each child’s visit costs the centre four times the admission fee. Though highly praised by Holocaust survivors, teachers, students and public figures alike, The Holocaust Centre is a charity that runs on an annual deficit. It needs an additional £400,000 per annum to survive.
At a time of rising antisemitism and growing racial tensions in British communities, the Centre has never been more needed. By supporting the White Rose Charity Ball, you will be helping to ensure its future – for the sake of all our futures.