The work of HMDT is overseen by a board of Trustees. At present, there are 15 members on our board. They are responsible for the governance and strategic vision of our work. Our Trustees are from a broad range of backgrounds and contribute to our work through regular board meetings and liaison with the staff team.
Ben Helfgott MBE
Ben was born in Poland in 1929. During the Nazi occupation he was sent to several concentration camps. Most of his family did not survive the Holocaust. After liberation from Theresienstadt, Ben moved to the UK. He trained as a weightlifter, competing in two Olympic Games. Ben has worked tirelessly in the field of Holocaust commemoration, and HMDT is proud that he represents us as our Honorary President.
‘Because of my childhood experiences in the ghettos and concentration camps, the hallmark of my life has been the promotion of harmonious relationships and better understanding toward my fellow human beings. Having witnessed how quickly people can descend to committing acts of barbarism, I was determined to warn contemporary society of the potential for genocide if the lessons of the Holocaust are ignored. I strive to overcome bigotry and racial prejudice brought about by ignorance and intolerance. To this purpose I spend much of my time promoting research, education and remembrance of the Holocaust in the hope that the lessons of the Holocaust may be understood and learned. The aims of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust coincide with my own and hence I am happy to be a part of it.’
Laura Marks became a deputy of the Board of Deputies of British Jews in January 2012 and in May 2013 was elected as Senior Vice President. Previously, she founded Mitzvah Day, which enables people of different faiths to come together to engage with local charities, and which celebrates the Jewish values of tzedek (justice), gmilut chasadim (acts of kindness) and tikun olam (environmental awareness), operating now in 20 countries. Laura chaired a JLC commission in 2012 to consider how to bring more talented Jewish women into leadership, and is a now co-chair of Women in Jewish Leadership. Laura is also co-founder of Nisa-Nashim, dedicated to bringing the Jewish and Muslim communities in Britain closer together by setting up groups of women nationally to build personal friendships, grow as leaders and benefit wider society.
'Remembering and learning from the Holocaust is not just a Jewish responsibility, it is a national one. Similarly, whilst unique, the Holocaust was, and indeed is, not the only genocide. I am involved to try to ensure that we remember, and we learn, and we do our very best to prevent all bigotry and hatred both now and in the future. '
Dilwar has worked in academic research and policy consultancy for over ten years, and his primary research interests are social policy, Muslim identity and Islamic reform in the modern world. He is a trustee of Three Faiths Forum, Senior Programme Advisor to the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, Research Fellow at the Lokahi Foundation and an Associate of the Centre for Islamic Studies, Cambridge University. He is former Head of the Policy Research Centre at the Islamic Foundation.
‘HMD is a really important reminder for all people, regardless of their faith or belief. To say that the Holocaust was a tragedy is a gross understatement. It was a moment when humanity lost its humanity. And yet genocides and mass killings continue in our world and hatred and prejudice are all too common. We must – all of us – resolve to learn the lessons of the past in order to build a better, more peaceful, future.’
Julian is a Chartered Accountant, with extensive experience of corporate business transactions and advisory services, principally in the SME, Education and Charity sectors. His roles have included Finance Director, Interim Manager, and Consultant.
Jonathan Arkush is a barrister and mediator specialising in property, commercial and probate law. He has a part-time judicial position as a deputy Chancery Master in the High Court of England and Wales. His communal involvements have included the campaign for Soviet Jewry, chairmanship of his community in Borehamwood & Elstree, chair of the steering group to establish and subsequently chair of governors of Hertsmere Jewish Primary School and vice-chair of the steering group to establish Yavneh College, a Jewish secondary school. He was elected as President of the Board on 17 May 2015 in a contest in which all three of the Board’s Vice Presidents stood for the office.
‘The Holocaust remains the greatest tragedy in living memory and still affects our lives today. It remains the responsibility, not only for the Jewish community but for us all, to remember the lessons of the Shoah and ensure we never forget the importance of tolerance and freedom. It is an honour to be involved in the invaluable work the HMDT carries out.’
Mike Freer MP
Mike was elected as the MP for Finchley and Golders Green at the 2010 general election. He was previously leader of Barnet Council. Mike has worked over many years for inter-faith understanding. He was the Chairman of Barnet's Multi-faith forum, and is a member of both the Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism (serving as Vice-President) and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia.
‘Fewer and fewer Holocaust survivors are with us and so it is increasingly important that we remember, learn and teach. HMDT does vital work in ensuring that the issues are not allowed to fade away.’
Hannah Lewis was born in 1937 in Wlodawa, Poland. During the Nazi occupation, Hannah and her family were rounded up and taken to a camp in Adampol, where sadly she witnessed her mother being killed. Her father managed to escape and joined the Partisans, before finding Hannah and living in Lodz after the war.
Hannah now lives in London and has been sharing her experiences in schools and universities for several years so that young people today can seek to understand the impact the Holocaust has on the contemporary world.
‘Holocaust and genocide commemoration are both important to me in view of my experiences as a child witnessing the degradation that follows such insane obsessions, and the necessity to do all I can to stop this happening again anywhere in the world.’
Fiyaz Mughal OBE
Fiyaz has had over 15 years of continuous service in the charitable sector and has led organisations in this sector since 2004. He is currently the Director of Faith Matters and has set up and delivered the national TELL MAMA (Monitoring Anti-Muslim Attacks) project over the last two years. He has served as a councillor for six years and on various Government advisory boards.
'In 2003, I had a vision to take young Muslims and Jews to Auschwitz and Srebrenica so that they could understand what hate leads to – genocide. Having spent two years of my life and personal investment into that project it meant that the Holocaust became more than just a genocide. It became a means of understanding the stages of genocide and how we can all play a role in countering those who promote hate, intolerance and bigotry. This is why joining HMD was so important.'
Joe is a historian of British based fascism, racism, antisemitism and Holocaust denial currently undertaking a PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London. Prior to this he was the National Campaign Organiser at the anti-fascist and anti-racist campaign organisation HOPE not hate where he worked on community campaigns countering the contemporary far-right.
'Researching and writing about those who seek to deny the existence of the Holocaust makes one realise the importance of the truth. If we are not vigilant in remembering there are people who will seek to prosper from our forgetfulness. That is why HMDT’s mission of remembering the Holocaust and subsequent genocides is vital in the fight to stop us from repeating the mistakes of our past.'
Danny Stone MBE
Danny Stone is the Director of the PCAA Foundation. His role is wide ranging and includes working closely with parliamentarians of all parties to secure action on Antisemitism. Before taking up his role Danny was a senior lobbyist at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and a Political Advisor to a member of the House of Lords. Danny has a Masters degree in politics and is an MCIPR with a diploma in Public Relations.
'Preserving the memory and learning the lessons of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides is key to our future as a civilised society. The work of HMDT is so important because it can frame a more positive future for us all.'
Anita is senior lecturer in Marketing Research and Business Ethics at London South Bank University. With 18 years’ experience in education, she is responsible for curriculum design, course management and delivery and in 2012 she was recognized by the Higher Education Academy and appointed a National Teaching Fellow. Anita has carried out significant research into the Holocaust and published a book about her mother, Naomi Blake, a survivor of the Holocaust. She has also been invited to speak about the Holocaust in universities and both Jewish and Christian religious institutions.
‘As an educator and the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, I am committed to ensuring that the stories of survivors of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides are told and that their legacy is put to positive educational use. We must remember that the Holocaust happened on our doorstep and its seeds were born out of years of racism and discrimination. HMDT provides a vital framework to encourage people to take responsibility for activities that educate about genocide and against racism across different communities.’
Professor Francis Davis
Francis is Professor of Communities and Public Policy at the University of Birmingham and an award-winning social entrepreneur most recently co-founding the ‘Mental Wealth Festival’ to celebrate people with learning disabilities and mental ill-health. He was previously a judge of the Erste Foundation Prize for Social Integration in South East Europe. Active in supporting NGOs working in Bosnia during the war he has long standing personal and professional links with Africa and South East Asia. He regularly contributes to national and international broadcast and print media.
‘Holocaust and genocide is a crime against all of us. For me HMDT is a beacon that champions the memory of victims and survivors, celebrates those who fought to protect them and as such sets a standard by which to help defeat those who would walk us back to such barbarisms in the future.’