By Larry Neild
LONDON, (Xinhua) — Designers, architects and artists from across the world were invited by the British government Wednesday to enter an international design competition for a striking new national memorial commemorating the Holocaust.
The new national landmark will be situated in the heart of Britain’s democracy, next to the Houses of Parliament in Victoria Tower Gardens, London.
It will, said a government statement, demonstrate Britain’s commitment to honoring the victims and survivors of the Holocaust, providing a place for quiet reflection as well as large-scale national commemorations.
Entries have to be submitted by Oct. 17. Entrants are also being invited to incorporate designs for a possible accompanying below-ground learning center.
“This world-class center would give visitors an immediate opportunity to learn more, contextualising the memorial, grounding it in historical fact as events fade from living memory, and inspiring future generations to respect and embrace difference in the fight against hatred and prejudice,” said the statement.
The learning center would also contain recordings of testimony from British Holocaust survivors and camp liberators, including unheard stories recently recorded as part of the government’s drive to ensure survivors who have never spoken out before have their memories captured for posterity.
The center would signpost visitors to the many further Holocaust educational resources that are available across Britain.
An independent jury will be appointed to judge the competition with an exhibition of the finalists’ concept designs held in central London in January 2017.
They will also be available to view online, giving the general public an opportunity to view the entries and give their feedback. The winning design team will be announced in summer 2017.
Speaking Wednesday at Prime Minister’s Questions Theresa May said: “We need to ensure that we never forget the horrors of the Holocaust and the lessons that must be learnt from it.”
“It is right that we have agreed this national memorial, next to Parliament in Victoria Tower Gardens. This will ensure that there will be opportunities for young people and others to learn the lessons of the Holocaust and the appalling atrocities that took place,” she said.
The Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis said: “The challenge is to create a sacred space for reflection, but also a place for learning in which people can take real meaning from history. I have no doubt that this competition will attract the quality of designs that this important memorial so richly deserves.”