I have decided to appoint Sir Andrew Burns as the “United Kingdom envoy for post-Holocaust issues”.
As a signatory to the declaration of the Stockholm international forum on the Holocaust the UK is committed to promoting Holocaust education, remembrance and research, both at home and abroad. Sir Andrew will lead the UK’s efforts in this field, drawing together activity from across Government and provide a clearer UK international profile, presence and influence. Sir Andrew’s work will include driving forward implementation of the Terezin Declaration on Holocaust era assets, resolving outstanding issues related to property and art restitution and ensuring the UK remains at the forefront of discussions on the vital work of the Task Force for International Co-operation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research and of the International Tracing Service.
Over the last few years the UK has taken an increasingly active approach to preserving the memory of the Holocaust. For the Foreign and Commonwealth Office this work has included leading the UK delegations to meetings of the Task Force for International Co-operation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research and of the International Tracing Service. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials have also represented the Government in discussions on property restitution and Holocaust era assets, frequently with support from other Government Departments.
This has worked well to date. But I am concerned that the UK is not taking the leading role it should in these international discussions or best representing the interests of the many Holocaust victims and their families in the UK affected by these issues. For this reason, and in order to drive a more coherent and strategic approach to our work, I have appointed Sir Andrew. He will add a new impetus to the Government’s post-Holocaust work, drawing on his considerable experience as chair of the executive committee of the Anglo-Israel Association and previously Her Majesty’s ambassador to Israel.