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09 Jun 2010 - Sir Andrew Burns appointed first UK Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues

Sir Andrew Burns appointed first UK Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues

Sir Andrew Burns appointed first UK Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues

The AJR welcomes the British government’s decision to create a United Kingdom Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues and the appointment of Sir Andrew Burns to this post.

The AJR and the Commission for Looted Art in Europe (CLAE) worked closely with the government to achieve this historic appointment.

Sir Andrew, a former UK Ambassador to Israel, will be responsible for leading the Government’s efforts on a range of important post-Holocaust work. This includes 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 Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research and of the International Tracing Service.

Announcing the appointment the Foreign Secretary said:

"The UK is determined to preserve the memory of the Holocaust for future generations. Sir Andrew’s appointment will ensure that we continue to support those working to right past wrongs and remain at the forefront of international discussions, to make sure that the lessons of this terrible period in our history are never forgotten.

“As a former UK Ambassador to Israel and chairman of the Anglo-Israel Association, Sir
Andrew’s wealth of experience means he is ideally placed to tackle the challenges this post
presents.”

Sir Andrew Burns said:

“I am deeply honoured by the confidence the Government places in me to develop and drive forward policy on such a wide range of post-Holocaust issues. The UK already plays a leading and active role in promoting Holocaust education, remembrance and research, in tackling and resolving outstanding issues and claims and in raising public awareness of the continuing relevance of the lessons and legacy of that terrible
moment in European history. I shall make it an early priority to talk to a broad range of experts and others with an interest in or knowledge of post-Holocaust subjects, in Whitehall and Parliament and in the wider community, in order to understand as well as I can the scope and substance of the issues involved and can develop a properly co-ordinated and strategic way forward in international discussions.”

Sir Andrew will be supported in his role by stakeholders with specialist knowledge of the key post-Holocaust issues who will provide expert advice and guidance.

AJR Director Michael Newman and CLAE Co-Chair, Anne Webber, said:

“The Commission for Looted Art in Europe (CLAE) and the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) have worked closely with the government to achieve this historic appointment, and we very much look forward to working with Sir Andrew on the range of post-Holocaust issues.

“This appointment comes at a crucial time with several matters, including the return of Nazi- looted art, the restitution of private properties in Poland and elsewhere, and the future governance and accessibility of the archives of the International Tracing Service (ITS) requiring urgent attention and decisive leadership.

“As a distinguished former ambassador, Sir Andrew brings to the post the extensive international experience and diplomatic skills which are so essential to resolve these sensitive and complex issues.”

To read the joint AJR and CLAE press release click here.