Historian and Holocaust educator Trudy Gold says a more radical solution than the proposed memorial in Westminster is needed to tackle Antisemitism

An architect's image of the memorial and learning centre in Victoria Tower Gardens.
 The plans for the memorial and learning centre in Victoria Tower Gardens. Photograph: Adjaye Associates & Ron Arad Architects

The question of a new Holocaust museum and learning centre is not where it should be located, but whether the money should be spent on it at all (Westminster council opposes plan to build Holocaust memorial, 11 February; Letters, 19 February).

I have been involved in Holocaust education since its inception. I was an early member of the British delegation to the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research (since renamed as the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance). I have created teaching resources for schools, and I have taught in this country, throughout eastern Europe and latterly in China.

The problem is this: another museum, however excellent, is merely a sticking plaster on a gaping wound. There are over 300 Holocaust museums and learning centres worldwide, and many of them are exceptional. One of the main causes of the Holocaust was antisemitism. Have these museums and learning centres reduced the level? Have they stamped out Holocaust denial? Have they helped to create more just and tolerant societies?

We need a far more radical solution. Why not spend the millions bringing together our best educators and psychologists and task them with examining education in its entirety?

There are no easy solutions but there are vital questions to be asked. Why, when societies fracture, do we seek scapegoats? Is prejudice innate or acquired? Why, in western civilisation, do we continue to face rising levels of antisemitism despite the huge amount of coverage of the Holocaust? What causes us to hate difference? This would surely be a more fitting memorial.

Trudy Gold
Former CEO of the London Jewish Cultural Centre and Jewish historian

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