Proposed location for the Holocaust Memorial

Evening Event: ‘The Holocaust Memorial Debate’ with Alex Maws and Barbara Weiss

When, in January 2015,  David Cameron promised to deliver a National Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre as the focal point for national remembrance of the Holocaust and learning, little would he have imagined what a Pandora’s Box he was about to open. Six years later, those in favour and those opposing are still in debate about the value and location of this memorial.  The planning judgement, come what may, will be highly controversial, reinforcing a major rift this case has created both within the Jewish community and beyond.  Amongst the numerous bones of contention that divide opinion, the choice of the Memorial’s site (a much loved historic park abutting both the Thames and the Houses of Parliament) is the single greatest cause of dissent.

The Holocaust Memorial Proposal was referred to a Public Enquiry by Robert Jenrick, Minister of Housing, Communities and Local Government which sat in October / November 2020.  The Inspector is due to report in April/May 2021.

Alex Maws and Barbara Weiss will discuss the background to this issue, and give their perspectives of the proposed development. Jonathan Lass, senior lawyer with leading international law firm Ince, and Circle Sq. member, will also offer his view on why this is such an important decision. Both Alex Maws and Jonathan Lass gave evidence to the Public Enquiry.


The Speakers 

Alex Maws, Head of Educational Grants & Projects, AJR (Association of Jewish Refugees)

Alex began working at the AJR in 2017. His career prior to that included overseeing the educational programmes at the Holocaust Educational Trust, teaching Sociology at Leyton Sixth Form College and working at Facing History & Ourselves in Boston, Massachusetts. He is a member and former Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) Education Working Group and served on the Board of Directors of the British Association of Holocaust Studies from 2013-2016. Alex earned an MA in Social Justice & Education from the University of London-Institute of Education and a BA in Political Science from the University of Michigan.


Barbara Weiss, Architect 

Born in Milan to an Italian Jewish father and an American mother, Barbara moved to London in order to train at the Architectural Association, prior to working for a number of years for internationally prestigious architects in New York (Philip Johnson and Richard Meier) and in London (James Stirling).  

For over 30 years now she has been running her own award-winning and highly respected practice, known for its design quality, attention to context, and impeccable detailing.  Amongst her best-known projects is the Wiener Library in Russell Square.  

Highly active within the London architectural scene, Barbara is also a vociferous campaigner, having co-founded Women in Architecture, the Skyline Campaign (against the proliferation of mediocre tall buildings in inappropriate locations) and the Save Victoria Tower Gardens campaign, opposing the building of a Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre in a much-loved, unique London park.  For many years now she has also been sitting on a host of Design Review Panels (including CABE), has assessed awards and competitions and mentored young talent.

Holocaust Memorial Proposal


DATE:    Tuesday 9th February 

TIME:     6:30-7:45pm

VENUE:  Zoom (link to follow once registered)